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Coach Pat to keep spot open for Santiago

Coach Pat to keep spot open for Santiago

Who would not want a 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago on their team?

A video of Jaja Santiago dunking the ball went viral Tuesday morning. In the video posted by Foton Tornadoes team manager Diane Santiago, the 21-year-old spiker was seen gripping a volleyball and soaring for a one-handed slam.

Though a volleyball is seven centimeters thinner compared to a regulation women’s basketball, it sparked a thought on whether Santiago, who is dubbed as the future of Philippine volleyball, can also be part of the women’s basketball program.

Santiago admitted to SPIN.ph that National University Lady Bulldogs head coach Patrick Aquino has been trying to recruit her to join the women’s basketball team for quite some time.

“Ayaw ko po i-grab. Minsan nagbibiro ako na magdu-dual sports ako pero it’s just a joke, kasi hindi ko nakikita ang sarili ko playing basketball,” Santiago told the publication.

Aquino, who steered the Lady Bulldogs to three straight championships, confirmed this saying, “It’s true. Dati ko pa siya gustong i-recruit for both the National Team and the NU Lady Bulldogs [Women’s Basketball Team]. Kaso ayaw niya.

“Volleyball lang muna daw focus niya.”

The 45-year old mentor though is keeping the doors open for Santiago to join them if she changes her mind.

“If she’s serious, she can join us [tryouts for SEABA and SEA Games]. She has an open spot in our team,” Aquino, who is also the chief mentor of Perlas Pilipinas, shared.

Currently, the tallest player in the women’s basketball program is former FEU Lady Tamaraw Claire Castro, who stands at 6-foot-5. Current Lady Bulldog Jack Animam follows at 6-foot-3.

“We are serious also in getting her. Sino ba naman may ayaw sa isang 6-foot-5 na athlete who is athletic pa? We’ll just teach her the fundamentals of the game,” Aquino continued.

And being just 21 years young, it’s not too late for Santiago to learn basketball.