Jaja Santiago’s hard work has finally paid off as she was officially introduced into the 19-woman Ageo Medics roster for the Japanese V.League 2018-2019 season. Her addition was made via a news article on the Ageo Medics website. Santiago will be wearing her famous #3 jersey and will play alongside Japanese national team players Koyomi Tominaga and Akane Yamagishi as well as middle blocker Ayaka Matsumoto.
In the news article announcing her inclusion, the former NU Lady Bulldog said “It is my first time to play in Japan and I am very honored and thankful for having this opportunity. It is a really big challenge for me. We will do our utmost to show you a good game as a member of the team and your support will us do that.”
Santiago and the Ageo Medics are part of the V.League’s Eastern Conference together with the Hitachi Rivale (Miya Sato’s team), the Denso Airybees (Yurie Nabeya’s team), the PFU Blue Cats (Chatchu-on Moksri’s team), the Kurobe Aqua Fairies, and the NEC Red Rockets (Sarina Koga and Haruyo Shimamura’s team). Meanwhile, the volleyball teams composing the Western Conference are the defending champion Hisamitsu Springs, runner-up JT Marvelous, third-place Toyota Auto Body Queenseis, the Okayama Seagulls, and the Toray Arrows (Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s team).
The 2018-2019 V.League season will start on November 3 and the Ageo Medics will open against newly-promoted Kurobe. Elimination round games are played every Saturday and Sunday until February 24, 2019 with a tournament break from December 9, 2018 to January 5, 2019. Each team will play all the other squads twice for a total of 20 first round games.
The top eight teams will advance to the second round and will play a single round-robin. Then, the three best teams out of that pool will move on to the third round wherein the best squad gets an automatic finals berth. Meanwhile, the second and third-best team will engage in a best-of-three semifinal series for a spot in the best-of-three championship series.
Ageo Medics finished seventh last season, winning only seven games out of 21 matches. With more teams this year, Santiago will have more opportunities to show her talent and widen her volleyball knowledge with some of the best players in the world.