Jaja Santiago and the Saitama Ageo Medics completed a comeback win over Okayama Seagulls, 28-30, 26-24, 23-25, 25-13, 15-11 to open their 2021-22 Japan V. League campaign at the Kasaoka Gymnasium on Saturday (16 October).
Santiago delivered 17 points built on 13 attacks and four kills as she provided ample support for Yuka Sato, who erupted for a game-high 40 points to spearhead the Ageo Medics in overcoming a 1-2 set deficit.
The win marked the start of Santiago's fourth season in the Japanese league, where she helped Saitama reign as V. Cup champions in March.
The Ageo Medics coughed out 31 errors in five sets, but Sato more than made up for it with 38 kills, a block and an ace in the thrilling heist. Mami Uchiseto also contributed to the cause with her 21-point output.
On the other hand, the Seagulls, who committed lesser errors with 16 in the loss, saw Syuka Kaneda's 28-point production go down the drain.
Santiago and Saitama will look to sustain momentum when they face Okayama anew on Sunday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.