MANILA, Philippines -- Even a middle blocker as tall and as skilled as Jaja Santiago still has trouble dealing with this pair of open hitters.
The former National University (NU) star revealed in an episode of Kalye Confessions that when it comes to blocking, Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons are among the toughest players to deal with.
"Silang dalawa kasi, mautak talaga maglaro," Santiago told Cherry Nunag of Petro Gazz.
In UAAP Season 80, Santiago emerged as the league's Most Valuable Player after scoring 280 points, including 36 kill blocks. The UAAP's leading scorer that year? University of Santo Tomas' (UST) Rondina, who amassed 296 points.
Pons, of Far Eastern University (FEU), scored 215 points that year and led the Lady Tamaraws to the finals.
"May mga blockers tayo na magagaling dito sa Pilipinas," Santiago noted, "Pero kahit anong timing na gawin mo sa kanila, may hang time."
Rondina's and Pons' ability to adjust in midair and catch blockers off guard make them very tough to defend, noted Santiago.
In the same episode, Santiago revealed how she got started in her volleyball journey -- a story that involved her older sister, Dindin Santiago.
"Noong nag-first year high school, dinala ako ni Ate Din sa UST. Siya ang naghikayat sa akin na maglaro ng volleyball," she said. "Kaya ayun, napasok ako doon sa paglalaro."
Because of her height, Santiago was immediately slotted in as a middle blocker. Yet she admitted that there is one position that she truly wanted to try.
"Gusto kong maging setter, before," said the 6-foot-5 Santiago. "Hanggang ngayon, gusto ko pa rin maging setter. Kasi parang nakakatuwa magawa ng mga plays."
Watch the full episode here:
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).