Chery Tiggo Crossovers star blocker Jaja Santiago denied the competition in the 2021 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference and seized both the conference MVP and Finals MVP awards on Friday, August 13.
The 6-foot-5 pride of Cavite averaged 14.8 points per game up until the second game of the semifinals, the cut-off for the conference awards. She also led the league with 122 spikes and 18 aces, while finishing third in blocks with 23.
She then pumped her scoring norms up to 25.3 points in the thrilling three-game finals war against the Creamline Cool Smashers and edged out her older sister Dindin Manabat, who erupted for 32 points in the five-set Game 3 classic, for the Finals MVP plum.
Creamline and the Petro Gazz Angels featured prominently in the other awards as Alyssa Valdez, the conference MVP runner-up, and longtime rival Myla Pablo were named the Best Outside Spikers.
Creamline playmaker Jia Morado copped her sixth straight Best Setter plum dating back to the 2017 Open Conference, while Petro Gazz’s Kath Arado earned her first Best Libero award.
Completing the Angels’ award trifecta is Ria Meneses, who led the league with 50 kill blocks for Best Middle Blocker honors alongside double MVP Santiago.
Finally, the Choco Mucho Flying Titans made their lone appearance in the awarding ceremony as Kat Tolentino was named the Best Opposite Spiker while wearing the jersey of her injured teammate Maddie Madayag, who was diagnosed with an ACL injury earlier in the day.
Tolentino finished second in scoring with an average of 14.9 points, just behind Valdez’s league-leading 18.0 markers per game. – Rappler.com
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