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    Ate Jaja so proud to see Risa Sato, Ivy Lacsina blossom at NU

    Mar 8, 2020
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    TWO years after her UAAP career ended, Jaja Santiago continues to help out National University in whatever way she can.

    Fresh from her stint in the Japan V. Premier League, Santiago showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday to watch Lady Bulldogs dominate the Adamson Lady Falcons in three sets for their best start of the season since 2018.

    NU head coach Norman Miguel lauded the former UAAP MVP for visiting NU in practices and sharing her learnings from Japan while waiting for the call from Ageo Medics to come back.

    “Si Jaja after her Japan stint n'ya, pumupunta siya sa training, binibisita nya 'yung girls,” said Miguel. “Nagi-impart siya ng techniques kung paano sa blocking, paano magri-read and react. Sumasabay siya sa practice namin.”

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    The 6-foot-5 import of Ageo Medics was glad to see that her pieces of advice weren't falling on dear ears.

    “Pinupuntahan ko itong mga bata na ito sa training, hindi lang araw-araw, pero yun nga sini-share ko sa kanila kung ano ang mga tinuro sa akin ng mga naging coaches ko sa Japan,” Santiago said.

    “So far nakikita ko ang ganda ng improvement. Ang tatangkad ng mga players and well- disciplined ang mga bata ngayon.”

    Santiago’s presence served as an inspiration for former teammate Audrey Paran, who led the charge for the Lady Bulldogs as she poured down 15 points to deliver their second straight victory.

    “Ate Jaja talaga is someone I look up to in terms of leadership, in terms of skills, lahat talaga. Tsaka nung time niya talaga lahat kami si Ate Ja yung sandalan,” said Paran. “This time, na-inspire ako, parang Ate Ja ito yung natutunan ko sa kanya, ito yung pinapakita niya before. Ako naman time ko naman ngayon.”

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      Santiago knows the Lady Bulldogs are in good hands under Risa Sato’s leadership and the immense talent of Ivy Lacsina.

      “Dati kasi natatandaan ko yan lagi siyang umiiyak. Kasi may gusto siyang sabihin, gusto niyang matutunan ang ganitong skills pero di niya ma-express ang sarili niya,” she said on her former teammate.

      “Pero ngayon makikita mo siya na siya na ang nagga-guide sa players, sya ang kumakausap sa mga players. Happy ako nakaka-adapt na siya sa Pilipinas.”

      The former National team star also liked the improvement in Lacsina as a middle blocker.

      “Kasi nung last time na punta ko dun sa training nahihirapan talaga siya. Inaangal niya na parang, ‘Ate di ko talaga ito pwesto,’” Santiago said. “Pero sinabihan ko siya na, ‘Ivy, kung di mo minahal kasi ang ginagawa mo, di mo talaga makukuha.' Kung palagi mong tatanungin sa sarili mo na kaya ko ba, ito ba talaga ang pwesto na lalaruin ko, di mo matututunan.’”

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      “So nakita ko ngayon na ang ganda ng blockings niya, nakakapalo siya. Sabi ko. ‘Kaya mo pala eh.’ Nakakatuwa lang sa bata kasi tinanggap na niya. In-adjust na niya ang sarili niya,” she added.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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