SISI Rondina looked like a vanquished warrior after University of Santo Tomas fell short of winning the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament title, but the graduating spiker has won the hearts of many who've hailed her a champion and legend.
The high-flying Cebuana, who started out in volleyball to earn school allowance for her and her sisters, has inspired so many that volleyball fans and admirers from other universities clamored for her Cinderella story to be featured in a drama anthology.
When a handful of sportswriters caught up with Rondina on Tuesday during the closing ceremony of the UAAP Season 81, she shared that writers from Maalaala Mo Kaya have already been in touch with her.
“Kinakabahan actually kasi first time," said Rondina, who was crowned UAAP Season 81 Athlete of the Year for Team Sports. "Okay naman masaya kasi maraming makakaalam ng buhay ko talaga. ‘Yung nagdesisyon ka na hindi mo alam [ang mangyayari] sa pagdesisyon mo sa gusto mo. Sana if ever lang makatulong ‘yun and maka-inspire.”
The outgoing Tigresses team captain admitted she was surprised when she learned for the first time that she'd be featured in MMK.
“OMG, OMG. Kasi ang daming gustong magpa-MMK sa buhay ko,” Rondina said. “I’m thankful na gusto nilang marinig ang buhay ko, isa ako sa mga pinili nila, gusto nilang marinig ang mga pinagdaanan ko and thankful ako.”
When asked who among today’s actresses would she want to play as Sisi Rondina, her answer was her fellow Cebuana.
“Kung [papipiliin ng] gaganap, si Kim Chiu na,” she said.
From a probinsiyana who only wanted what's best for family, the diminutive Rondina has blossomed into one of the most inspirational athletes today.
She was the undisputed queen of the UAAP beach volleyball tournament for four years, a scorching run that included a three-peat from Seasons 79 to 81. She has been named MVP five times, four in the beach volleyball tournament and one from the indoor competition.
Rondina also carried UST into the Final Four in Season 79 and, this year, rebounded from a dismal Season 80 campaign to lead the Golden Tigresses to the Finals for the first time in nine years.