After Jaja was formally welcomed into the Ageo Medics roster, the Toray Arrows have officially announced the inclusion of Santiago-Manabat together with Jana Kulan of Azerbaijan. However, she will not be wearing the #3 jersey as originally reported but #16. The announcement was made via a news article on the Toray Arrows official website last September 28, two days after she celebrated her 25th birthday.
In the same article, Santiago-Manabat said “I was dreaming playing in the Japanese V.League, so I am very happy that I could take that first step. We prepare for daily conditioning and performance so that we can contribute to the team. May you keep on supporting me and the team.”
Prior to her stint with Toray, Santiago-Manabat was part of the Philippine women’s volleyball team that finished eighth in the 2018 Asian Games. She has also won three Philippine Super Liga titles, two with the Petron Blaze Spikers (2014 PSL Grand Prix, 2015 PSL All-Filipino) and one with the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy (2016 PSL Grand Prix). Aleona Denise was also named Most Valuable Player for the first conferences of the 10th and 11th Shakey’s V-League seasons.
She first suited up for the UST Golden Tigresses from 2009 to 2010 before transferring to National University where she played alongside her sister until 2014. Santiago-Manabat has also played for the Smart-Maynila Net Spikers, the PLDT Home Telpad Turbo Boosters, and the Philippine Army Lady Troopers.
The Toray Arrows finished sixth in the 2017-18 V.League season with eight wins and 13 loses. They barely made the second round of the season where they were eliminated. Aside from Kulan, Santiago-Manabat will be joined by Japanese national team players Mari Horikawa and Ai Kurogo in the Arrows roster. Toray Arrows has four V.Premier League Division 1 titles under its belt including three straight from 2007 to 2010. They last won the title in the 2011-2012 season.
Santiago-Manabat will join the list of local Filipino volleyball players who have played professionally abroad which include Alyssa Valdez (3BB Nakornnont and Attack Line), Marck Espejo (Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler), and her sister Jaja. The 2018-19 Japanese V.League season will start on November 3.
Source: Toray Arrows website