Jaja Santiago just as dominant despite shift in position from middle blocker to open spiker
Jaja Santiago is just as effective as an open spiker after firing away 16 points in Foton's 25-11, 22-25, 26-24, 25-21 win over Generika. Dante Peralta

AFTER dominating the net, Jaja Santiago now tries to invade a new territory after being converted as an open spiker during Foton’s game against Generika in the Philippine Super Liga All Filipino Conference.

Although it was the first time for the 6-foot-5 middle blocker to be in the open position, she still managed to come up with her usual numbers of 16 points - 12 attacks and four blocks - in the Tornadoes’, 25-11, 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, win over Generika on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan

But Santiago was the least surprised with the decision of her coach to assign her to a new position.

“Sa training po talaga pina-practice nila ako, sa lahat naman po talaga ng position. Sinabihan na rin naman po ako nila na mag-ready ako kahit saan man nila ako ilagay.So hindi na po ako nagulat na nilagay ako sa open kanina,” she said after the game.

“Hindi po (ako nagulat) kasi kahapon sa training namin pina-practice na nila kami na kapag nandyan si Ate Neta (Angeli Araneta, sa middle) ako ang open.”

But the National University stalwart admitted she’s still more comfortable with her usual position.

“Medyo nahihirapan pa, kasi ang pasok ko pang-quick, nangangapa pa ako, pero ‘yun nga nakukuha naman sa training, and alam ko mag-iimprove pa ang timing ko sa open,” she said.

“Sa ngayon middle pa rin kasi ‘yun talaga ang posisyon ko na nasimulan at nagagamay ko,” Santiago added.

Despite the uneasiness, she remains grateful for the trust given to her by her coaches.

“Syempre masaya ako na lahat ng pwesto napu-pwestuhan ko, natutuwa rin ako na ang laki ng tiwala ng coaches ko, na kaya kong gawin ang mga posisyon na hindi ko naman talaga gamay,” she said.

“Ok naman, sinasabi nina coach na mas maganda daw na mag-open kasi ‘yung height ko nga daw, tapos ‘yung talon, so madalang talaga ma-block (kasi) ibabaw (ang palo).” 

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