MANILA, Philippines -- After missing the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Filipina middle blocker Jaja Santiago is determined to make up for lost time in the 2021 edition of the biennial event.
Santiago could not play for the Philippines in 2019 after failing to gain clearance from her club in Japan's V.League, Saitama Ageo Medics. The Philippines lost all of their matches in the competition, missing out on the podium.
Ahead of this year's SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, Santiago said she has already worked out an arrangement with her team that will allow her to play.
"Maaga pa lang din, nasabi ko na sa team ko, hindi pa ako nakaka-pirma ng contract ko, nasabi ko sa kanila na gusto ko this time na kahit anong international tournament ko for Philippines, gusto ko pupunta ako for my national team, maglalaro ako for my national team," Santiago said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
Santiago said Ageo Medics agreed to her request, although she will face some consequences.
"Kumbaga, may penalty," she explained. "So papayagan nila ako na maglaro sa SEA Games."
Before missing the 2019 SEA Games, Santiago played for the Philippines in the 2015 and 2017 editions of the event, as well as in the 2018 Asian Games.
The 2021 SEA Games will be held from November 21 to December 2.
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