Manilla “Illa” Santos-Ng was a force to be reckoned with during her time in the UAAP. After spending a decade off the volleyball court, Santos is suiting up once again. This time, the Lasallian volleyball legend will be donning bright purple as she joins the Choco Mucho Flying Titans for the upcoming 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference. The team announced Santos’ surprise return to competition through their official Twitter account.
Photo Credit: Choco Mucho Flying Titans Offical Twitter (@CMFlyingTitans)
While this may be Santos’ first outing on the professional scene, her storied collegiate career proves that she has always been capable of competing at a higher level. The 5’4 open hitter may have been smaller in stature compared to her teammates and competitors, but she definitely did not lack in skill on the court. Santos played for the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers from Season 66 to 71. In that time, she helped lead her team to four championships, was hailed as the league’s Best Receiver thrice, and even earned the MVP award during her final season.
DLSU recognized Santos’ exemplary contributions to her team, the university, and collegiate volleyball, moving to retire her jersey in 2009. At that time, only the jerseys of basketball icons like Renren Ritualo and Lim Eng Beng had been retired. Hanging Santos’ #14 up in the rafters marked the first instance that DLSU retired the jersey of a female athlete and of a volleyball player. Coincidentally, it also took a decade before the university honored another female athlete. Though numberless, the jersey of the late table tennis Olympian Ian Lariba now hangs proudly alongside Santos’ own.
It will be interesting to see how Santos’ PVL debut will turn out on August 14 when the Choco Mucho Flying Titans face off in their first game against fellow newcomers, Chef’s Classic. Santos will be playing alongside former Ateneo stars and UAAP Season 81 champions Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kat Tolentino, under the leadership of head coach Oliver Almadro.
— Choco Mucho Flying Titans (@CMFlyingTitans) August 3, 2019
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