MANILA, Philippines — Jaja Santiago has been offered naturalization in Japan following her recent title run with the Saitama Ageo Medics in the Japan V Cup.
The former National University star herself revealed the news on Volleyball DNA on Saturday as her impending free agency looms.
"Kalagitnaan pa lang ng liga, gusto na nila (Ageo) ako mag-stay. Gusto nilang palitan yung nationality ko actually," said Santiago.
"Gusto nila ako mag-stay pa dun at tulungan palitan yung nationality ko," she added.
This would change the middle blocker's qualification in the V. League from reinforcement to local.
While the offer is tempting for the volleyball player out of Cavite, especially considering the calibre of talent in Japan, Santiago remains hesitant as a part of her wants to continue representing the Philippines.
"May dream ako makapaglaro sa Olympics pero siyempre may pride pa rin naman ako bilang Pilipino," she said.
"Gusto ko tulungan yung bansa natin na dun sa goal ko na yun, gusto ko kasama yung kapwa Pilipino ko," she added.
It is of note that Japan has played in the Olympics twice in the past four editions of the quadrennial event.
The national team stalwart, however, admitted that it still lingers at the back of her mind.
"Kung wala talagang chance, why not?" said Santiago.
"It's on the back of my mind na pwede ako magpalit ng nationality," she added.
As for her club plans, Santiago is expected to stay with Saitama as she sees better opportunities for her with the team rather than entertain offers from other teams both in the V. League and in other countries.
"Ayoko rin iwan yung opportunity ng Brazilian coach ko sa Ageo," said Santiago of coach Antonio Marcos Lerbach.
"Sabi nga niya, may magandang plano siya sa akin kaya kailangan ko mag-stay," she added.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com