With the Foton Tornadoes Blue Energy on a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak, they will need all the help they can get to build momentum coming into the quarterfinals.
After Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s return from a stint with the Toray Arrows, it’s her younger sister’s turn to don the Foton uniform once more.
The Tornadoes are activating former 2016 PSL Grand Prix Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago for their game against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers this Saturday (March 30), 4 PM, at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The news was confirmed by Foton team manager and Jaja’s sister Diane Santiago via chat. “Yes po, Jaja will play on Saturday.” She will take Genevieve Casugod’s spot in the roster.
The younger Santiago, also named to the Women’s National Team training pool, just came back from her stint with the Saitama Ageo Medics in the Japanese V.League Division 1. The UAAP Season 80 MVP averaged 11.7 points per game in 27 matches, including a 23-point performance in their Final Eight closer against the Denso Airybees. Her season ended when the Medics managed only one win in seven games which is not enough for a Final Three berth.
The 6′ 5″ middle blocker could have played in their previous match against the United Volleyball Club. However, she opted not to because she has not been properly released by the Medics.
Her presence will be a big boost for the reeling Tornadoes as they look to finish the preliminaries strong. Winning their last three games could help them catch up with Sta. Lucia Lady Realtors who are currently at the seventh seed.
However, her return will be an instant acid test as the Tornadoes will face an F2 squad that will parade a returning Maria Jose Perez. The 2017 PSL Grand Prix MVP finished her stint with the Golden Tulip Volalto Caserta squad in the Italian Serie A2 and will return to a depleted Cargo Movers which are missing the services of Kim Kianna Dy, Cha Cruz-Behag, and Kim Fajardo.
The 23-year-old Santiago was a key figure in Foton’s championships during the 2015 and 2016 PSL Grand Prix.