'Halimaw' Sisi Rondina is one of a kind, says La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus
Sisi Rondina wowed the crowd in a sizzling debut for the Tigresses. Marlo Cueto

TREBLE-SEEKING La Salle was made to sweat in its UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball debut when Sisi Rondina dropped 28 points and nearly got University of Santo Tomas a giant scalp on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

No wonder Lady Spikers coach Ramil de Jesus wishing he had the same player in his lineup.

“Well, ‘yun nga ‘yung mabigat wala kaming ganoon (klaseng player), sila meron,” said de Jesus after their hard-earned, 25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 15-25, 15-8, win. “So kahit papaano gustong buhatin ang team, ibang klase.”

Rondina had an explosive debut for the Tigresses, firing one powerful spike after another and time and again bringing UST back to life with her boundless energy.

Still, De Jesus said he was no longer surprised by Rondina's performance, saying his team had more or less the same experience playing against a talismanic player in Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo.

“Every year naman lumalakas ‘yung bata, nasa character naman ng isang player ‘yun eh kung ano ang gusto niyang mangyari sa kanya,” said de Jesus of Rondina. 

“Hindi naman bago sa team namin ‘yan, before may Alyssa Valdez, ngayon siya naman so pinaghahandaan naman namin,” he added.

La Salle veteran Kim Dy agreed.

“After (the game), nag-apir-apir kami, sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Halimaw ka.' Kaloka 'yung batang 'yun, very aggressive pumalo. Backline, frontline, anywhere kung saan man pumunta 'yung bola, tatalon at tatalon siya,” said Dy.

Meanwhile, de Jesus said it wasn't all Rondina for UST as he pointed to another emerging threat at the Tigresses camp - Milena Alessandrini.

The 6-foot-1 Fil-Italian rookie debuted with 14 kills, three blocks and one service ace.

“Sa ngayon hindi pa (masabi) kasi bago pa lang (siya) sa ganitong competition pero siguro first game jitters,” said de Jesus.

“Pero sa susunod mahirap nang pigilan sobra, so makaka-adjust ‘yun sa larong Pinoy and swerte din kasi kami na-first game sila,” he added.

“Mag-aadjust na sa second round. Bahala na ‘yung susunod nilang dadaanan na game,” he continued.

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