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Santiago remains with Chery Tiggo

Despite Jaja Santiago’s decision to apply for a Japanese citizenship, she remains part of the Chery Tiggo in the Premier Volleyball League.

Crossovers head coach Aaron Velez revealed in an episode of The Athletes’ Tribune late Monday that Santiago is still with the team despite her ongoing campaign with the Saitama Ageo Medics in the Japan V. League.

The PVL All-Filipino Conference goes underway this Saturday with Chery Tiggo’s first match being against Cignal on 7 February.

“Technically, she’s still a Filipino. Let’s not preempt the future and just be ready. We just have to respect her decision,” Velez said.

“Jaja Santiago is still with the team. Technically speaking, she is still with us.”

Santiago was with the team in 2021 when Chery Tiggo bagged its first PVL crown at the expense of Creamline.

But with the 6-foot-4 volleybelle still in Japan, the Crossovers struggled the following year without winning anything.

To make matters worse, Jaja’s older sister, Dindin Manabat, moved to Akari during the offseason.

Now, it is up to the likes of Mylene Paat, EJ Laure and France Ronquillo to step up.

Velez said Paat is capable of leading the Crossovers this season.

“In terms of positioning this is the opportunity for France Ronquillo to show her capacity but in terms of as a leader in attack, EJ Laure has to step up and Shaya Adorador as well,” Velez said.

“She (Paat) can show her capacity as a player and captain ball. I think now, she just needs to maintain her deep communication with her teammates.”

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