Jaja Santiago gets winning debut with JT Marvelous in Japan

Jaja Santiago (top row, leftmost) with the JT Marvelous in Japan V.League.

Jaja Santiago (top row, leftmost) with the JT Marvelous in Japan V.League.

MANILA, Philippines — Jaja Santiago was instrumental in her JT Marvelous debut as they swept the Toyota Auto Body Queenseis, 25-21, 29-27, 25-14, on Saturday to open the 2023-24 V.League in Japan.

Santiago, who opened her sixth season in Japan with a new team, scored seven points, hitting six-of-10 attacks and nailing a block to five the Marvelous a winning start.

The 6-foot-5 middle blocker started in all three sets in her first game away from her former club, Ageo Medics. 

American import Annie Drews led the club from Nishinomiya City with 20 on 17 attacks, two aces, and a block.

Kotona Hayashi chipped in 15 points including one block for the Marvelous, while Mizuki Tanaka added nine markers

The 27-year-old Santiago will face her former team, Ageo Medics on Sunday. 

The Saitama-based squad dropped their opening match 27-25, 24-26, 25-27, 22-25 to the Hisamitsu Springs on Saturday in its first game without Filipino import Santiago.

Yurie Nabeya carried Toyota with 12 points. including an ace. Lise Van Hecke had 11 markers, while Aimi Okawa and Hinata Shigihara added seven each.

Creamline setter Jia De Guzman will make her V.League debut with the Denso Airybees next week against the NEC Red Rockets.

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