National University's Jaja Santiago awarded UAAP MVP in final year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 2) — National University's Jaja Santiago is this year's University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women's volleyball Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Santiago received the highest individual honor Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum before Game 2 of the finals between La Salle and NU.

"It's an honor to win this award. Thank you UAAP for the experience you have given me," she said in a short speech.

The 6-foot-5 outside hitter led the Lady Bulldogs to a league-best record after the first round, but faltered in the second round and grabbed the fourth spot. They were eliminated by the La Salle Lady Spikers in the Final Four.

Santiago also bagged the Best Spiker award.

University of Santo Tomas' Cherry Rondina won Best Scorer, while Far Eastern University's Celine Domingo was hailed as Best Blocker.

La Salle's Desiree Cheng and Deanna Wong of Ateneo, meanwhile, bagged the Best Server and Best Setter, respectively.

University of the East's Kath Arado was named Best Digger and Best Receiver.

Milena Alessandrini of UST was named this season's Rookie of the Year.

In the men's division, Ateneo superstar Marck Espejo copped his fifth straight MVP award.

Aside from being the top men's player, Espejo was also Best Scorer, Best Spiker, and Best Server.

His teammate Ish Polvorosa captured his fifth consecutive Best Setter honor.

Other awardees were Jayvee Sumagaysay of University of Santo Tomas as Best Blocker, Jopet Movido of La Salle as Best Digger, Rikko Mamerto of FEU as Best Receiver, and Ariel Morado Jr. was named the Rookie of the Year.