By Jerome Lagunzad
The Philippine national women’s volleyball team showed a glimpse of its full potential by turning back Cocolife with ease, 25-13, 25-17, 25-11, in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitational Conference at The Arena in San Juan City.
Even with just 11 players on hand, the Nationals displayed fluid offensive attack coupled with a sustained defensive intensity as they dominated the Asset Managers on all fronts in an hour and eight minutes in their first-ever public appearance.
Towering spiker Jaja Santiago led the way with 17 points, built around 13 kills and four service aces, while elder sister, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, backed her up with 12 points in what turned out to be a strong debut performance by the Nationals.
Crafty setter Kim Fajardo made 29 excellent sets on top of three service aces, an attack, and a block while libero Denden Lazaro, playing against her mother team, tallied 16 successful digs and eight excellent receptions for the Nationals.
The Nationals, as expected, got off to a so-so start and trailed 12-13 before they responded with aplomb, scoring 13 straight points behind their revitalized attack in the opening set.
Then the 6-foot-5 Santiago showed her full offensive wares in the second frame where she helped the Nationals turn an 11-all deadlock into a quick seven-point advantage at 20-13.
The Asset Managers, led by six points each from Patricia Peña and Justine Tiu, simply could not offer any resistance in the decisive set where they fell behind 6-16, with the Nationals’ onslaught still in full display.