MVP nothing for Santiago if NU fails to win title
MANILA, Philippines -- For newly-minted Shakey's V-League MVP Dindin Santiago, winning the league’s highest individual accolade means nothing if the National University Lady Bulldogs fail to win the title.
Just almost two hours after receiving the MVP plum, the towering Santiago was a picture of disappointment after NU dropped a straight-set setback to the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in Game 1 of their best-of-three Finals series.
Santiago was last to come out from NU’s gloomy dugout after almost an hour, and she looked like she did not win the MVP award.
The 19-year-old Santiago admitted that being first-timers in the Finals did NU in the game.
“First time ‘nung iba so na-rattle kami,” shared Santiago. “Nawala kami sa focus and na-pressure.”
Championship, not award
Santiago, who once donned the colors of the University of Santo Tomas high school, said she would rather exchange the individual award for the championship.
“Masaya naman ako, hindi naman ako nage-expect,” quipped Santiago, who are close friends with on-court rivals Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo, Maru Banaticla of UST, Kim Fajardo, Abi Marano and Mika Esperanza of La Salle.
“Sa akin naman ay binibigay ko lang ang best ko, ‘di ako nage-expect.” said the HRM student. “Para sa akin, award lang ‘yun, ang goal ko ay mag-champion,”
First things first
Asked about her expectations in the coming UAAP season, Dindin said they are focusing on what's at stake for them right now: the V-League.
“Kailangan kong dalhin ang team ko next season sa UAAP,” said Santiago. “Sa ngayon hindi muna namin iniisip ‘yun (UAAP), ito muna."
“Kailangan kong burahin sa sarili ko na MVP ako, sana nga ‘di na lang ako nag-MVP kasi pressure lang ‘yun,” she added.
As Dindin made her way out of the Mall of Asia Arena where rabid NU fans waited for her for photo-ops and autograph signings, Santiago — the MVP — had words to say for both NU believers and naysayers.
“Babawi tayo sa Sunday.”
Indeed, Santiago took the responsibility for her team’s stinging defeat in their maiden Finals game, but as what MVPs usually do, she vowed to bounce back and lead her team.
"Babangon ang NU." - Rappler.com