JERSEY STORY: Sweet 16 as Cherry Rondina reaches new heights for UST Tigresses
SWEET 16: Cebuana Cherry 'Sisi' Rondina has been a sparkplug for the Tigresses this season. Jerome Ascano

THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.

From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to a happy coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.

And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to your sports heroes.

Here's No. 14 of our Jersey Story Series:

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas sophomore open spiker Cherry ‘Sisi’ Rondina has worn three different numbers on her jersey in her young volleyball career, with the current No. 16 delivering her the most success so far.

But she'd be the first to say the jersey number doesn't really matter; only the performance for the name on the front of the kit does.

The 19-year old Cebu native, who has been wowing everyone this season with her talent, boundless energy and street swagger, started her collegiate career with UST last year donning the No. 11 uniform. 

"'Yung (jersey No.) 11 po kasi dati ko pa 'yun sa high school," explained Rondina, who was recruited by the Tigresses from Compostela National High School.

But since the number was more recently associated with former Tigresses standout Patty Rasmo, Rondina decided to swith to No. 16 for this UAAP women’s volleyball season, where she's the current leader in scoring.

"Sinabi naman na mag-16 ako kasi, hindi naman sa wala nang ibang number, eh kasi 'yung 11 may nauna na talaga," Rondina said.

Halfway through the interview, Rondina shared that her current jersey number is actually her third. Her first playing uniform for Estaca Elementary School in Cebu was No. 4 simply because she was born on September 4, 1996.

The pint-sized volleybelle, however, stressed that it doesn't matter much for her whatever jersey number she wears.

"Kahit anong number naman ok lang sa akin. As long as maipataas namin 'yung nasa harap ng jersey, wala na akong problema sa number. Basta 'yung school at saka 'yung apelyido namin (makilala). Madaming players na may favorite number, pero para sa akin I (just) always give my best," said Rondina.

"Hindi ko po alam kasi for me 'yung school ang dapat na makilala, so hindi ko iniisip 'yung (sarili ko). Oo sige, isasali na natin 'yung apelyido, pero 'yung number wala lang naman 'yan eh. Siguro 'yun 'yung number na available para sa akin," she added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada