Jaja Santiago dropped a conference-high 35 points to power Foton to a 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-15 victory over Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) All-Filipino Conference Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
One of the country’s rising stars, Santiago delivered 30 attacks, three aces and two blocks to tow the Tornadoes to their second victory in this prestigious women’s club league bankrolled by Rebisco, Belo and Gold’s Gym with TV5 as official broadcaster.
It was the fourth highest offensive output since American import Kristy Jaeckel tallied 40 points, Stephanie Niemer delivered 38 points and Dindin Manabat registred 37 points in her debut game for Petron in 2014.
Foton coach Moro Branislav lauded Santiago’s performance, saying that her presence propelled them to a strong start and a stronger finish.
“Jaja is an important player for us in this All-Filipino,” said Branislav, who gave Santiago limited minutes in their opening match against Cherrylume last Tuesday. “As you see we have seven new players. We have a new setter. This is very difficult for us. I’m glad Jaja is there to help us pull it through.”
Branislav noted that they cut down their errors in the fourth set
“We had no mistake, no big number of mistake in the fourth set,” he said, adding that they committed 13 errors in third set alone. “We had only one mistake (in the fourth set) if I am correct.”
Earlier, the PSL All-Filipino Conference went full blast with a dazzling show that underscores the importance of charity and Olympism among the country’s elite athletes.
Long jump specialist Katherine Kaye Santos, La Salle students and members of the national table tennis team personally spearheaded the solicitation of donation for the medical fund of Ian Lariba, the Rio Olympics competitor who had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a deadly blood disease that puts her in critical condition.
PSL president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said this is the perfect time for the local sports community to rally behind Lariba and help her overcome the most important challenge in her life.
He stressed that this is not the first time for the country’s premier club league which also has Senoh, Mikasa, Mueller, Asics and Grand Sport as technical sponsors to extend its helping hand.
“We are one with the sports community in helping Ian Lariba overcome the most challenging battle of her life,” said Suzara, adding that the league already donated half of its ticket sales of its first two playdates to Lariba’s medical fund.
“We wanted to send a statement that the PSL is more than just volleyball. We are also doing our share by giving it back to the sports community, especially to a distinguished athlete like Ian Lariba.”