A night before Manny Pacquiao defeated a much-younger opponent in Keith Thurman, another diminutive People’s Champ showed the world how winners are not only determined by the titles they’ve won but the many lives they’ve touched.
On Saturday, former UST women’s volleyball captain Sisi Rondina finally had her very own Maalaala Mo Kaya moment when the episode centered around her life story aired, becoming a trending topic on social media not only in the Philippines but worldwide.
Of course, no one could be prouder seeing Rondina’s amazing rise than University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses coach Kungfu Reyes, who witnessed both the real and reel life journey of the 2019 UAAP women’s volleyball MVP.
“Siguro sa history ng Philippine volleyball Sisi is the first volleyball player [na ma-feature sa MMK],” said Reyes. “We’re so flattered not just as a coach but also a Thomasian alumni. Kasi madaming drama eh, alam mo naman tayong mga Pinoy, mas attached tayo sa mga [underdog].
"Mas emotionally attached tayo kasi nakakapukaw [ng damdamin] kasi from zero, from nothing, nakita nating umasenso. Parang kwento ni Pacquiao on a small level, maraming na-inspire.”
The Kim Chiu-bannered episode, dubbed “M.V.P.”, depicted Rondina and her family’s early struggles.
Her mother worked abroad so Rondina and her three siblings could have a fighting chance at having a brighter future. While she was away, Rondina’s dad more than made up for his wife’s absence, providing all the moral support his children needed to stay inspired.
His lessons, the episode revealed, almost failed to make an impact, especially on the UAAP star who once contemplated giving up on the game.
Reyes hopes Rondina’s life will inspire the people who’ve seen the trending episode about persistence amid overwhelming odds.
“Kasi alam natin na madaming tao na same ang nararanasan sa buhay,” said Reyes. “At least [through the show], magbigyan sila ng inspirasyon na magsumikap, in any field, kung saan ka magaling pagbutihin mo. Hindi tapos ang buhay kung gagawan mo ng paraan.”