SISI Rondina's full attention is with beach volleyball now, but it doesn't mean that she's turning her back on her indoor volleyball career.
The charming 5-foot-6 Cebuana clarified that to The Prospects Pod on Friday.
"Hindi naman sa sinasabi kong iiwanan na yung indoor," she said, reiterating that she has cleared everything to her indoor club team Petron in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) before her departure.
"Noong pagka-paalam namin sa Petron, ako sinabi ko sa manager namin na hindi po namin kayo kakalimutan. Syempre nagpapasalamat pa rin kami sa inyo kasi isa kayo sa mga tumulong sa amin, pero gusto lang din po talaga namin na mag-focus sa beach volleyball kasi gusto din po namin talaga at pangarap namin na magka-gold talaga."
Rondina says with partner Bernadeth Pons, she is determined to help grow the sport.
The Philippines bagged bronze in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December.
"Nagbago po talaga nung nag-bronze medalist kami sa SEA Games. Sobrang ang sarap sa feeling lalong lalo na SEA Games yung pinaguusapan at Pilipinas ang dala," she said.
"Isang karangalan talaga na masaksihan ng mga Pilipino na sinuotan ka ng medalya. Ang sarap din sa feeling na lahat ng pagod niyo, pagbilad sa araw, sakripisyo is worth it talaga. Nung pagkasuot ko ng medal talaga, doon ka na-feel na parang gusto ko pa mas umangat pa talaga. Gusto namin ni Pons na umangat pa, gusto namin magka-points as professional beach volleyball player dito sa Pilipinas, at gusto namin makagain pa ng experience."
It's just that the global COVID-19 pandemic threw those plans in disarray, with those being shelved following the cancellation of the AVC Asian Seniors Beach Volleyball Championship in Thailand last February, as well as a number of local Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) tournaments.
The former UST Golden Tigress says she continues to train at home in Compostela in Cebu.
Rondina, a four-time UAAP gold medalist in beach volleyball and is the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball MVP, is of the belief that with more experience, the Filipino players can just be as good as our neighbors.
"Kasi sa SEA Games, dikit lang talaga yung mga laban namin and then yun lang, talo kami sa experience talaga. Kasi yung mga nakalaban namin, sumasali sa World Tour. Kami hanggang dito lang, hindi kami gaanong nakakalabas kasi nga sa mga commitment dito sa Pinas," she said.
Narrow were those losses, as the pairs of Rondina and Pons, as well as the other team of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez, gave their opposition a hell of a fight before bowing to eventual gold medalist Thailand and silver medal winner Indonesia.
That's why Rondina believes the gap isn't really that big, and the Philippines can soon gain the top of the beach volleyball podium in the region, hopefully in the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam.
"Kahit anong liga pa yan, syempre iba kasi yung nadadala pag marami ka ng experience and iba yung laro kapag marami ka ng experience na dala-dala," she said. "Kaya we're thankful sa mother team namin which is Rebisco na naglaan talaga ng spot para sa amin. Thankful kami kasi sinuportahan nila kami."