BACOOR CITY — Sisi Rondina is playing a different role outside the collegiate ranks as Petron’s substitute spiker but she has been showing the same beast in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference.
From emerging as UAAP’s top scorer for the past two years and leading University of Santo Tomas to a Season 80 silver medal finish in her last playing year, Rondina is back as the Blaze Spikers’ sparkplug from the bench of a loaded roster with the starting outside hitter positions occupied by skipper Ces Molina and Bernadeth Pons.
Despite coming off the bench, the reigning UAAP insisted that she is still the same intense, passionate and high-leaping 5-foot-6 spiker whenever she checks in the court.
“Same lang naman e. Kung ano yung Sisi Rondina sa UAAP yun pa rin sa PSL,” said Rondina after delivering 11 points in just two sets played for Petron’s three-set sweep over Generika-Ayala on Tuesday at the Bacoor Strike Gym.
Usually entering the match in the second set, Rondina is still averaging 11 points in four games, excluding the two matches — a loss to unbeaten leader F2 Logistics and a bounce back win over Cignal —she missed when she was in a Japan trip two weeks ago as UST’s prize for their UAAP beach volleyball title run.
Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos is not surprised with Rondina’s production as he knows that his ‘super-sub’ is always ready to deliver whenever he fields her in.
“Knowing her naman alam naman namin yung quality ng laro niya talagang all-out lagi,” Delos Santos said. “Kung makikita mo siya napakajolly lang, akala mo wala lang, pero pag nagexecute na siya ng mga attacks niya, pati sa defense at anumang mga skills niya ginagawa niya one hundred percent.”
After five amazing seasons in the UAAP steering UST with four beach volleyball titles and one Finals appearance in indoor, this is the first time that Rondina is playing for Petron out of college.
“Nakakamiss, nakakalungkot lagi kasi hindi ako sanay na wala akong ginagawa kasi sa ngayon dapat nagtetraining ako ng beach volley,” the 23-year-old said. “Every year kasi sa limang taon tigdadalawa yung task ko like yung semi-pro, collegiate.”
“But acceptance na lang wala na tayong magagawa andito na rin tayo tapos na rin yung career sa UAAP. Dito na sa PSL yung focus ko,” she added.
However, some fans have been complaining on social media why a UAAP MVP like Rondina is coming off the bench.
Rondina respects the fans because it’s their opinion but she is asking them to respect the rotation of his coach too, like how she accepts and how happy she is happy with her role as ‘eighth man’ since she joined Petron in 2017.
“For me naman kasi nirerespeto ko naman yung sinasabi nila pero dapat isipin din nila na lahat kami may iba’t ibang role sa team and pagiging first six is hindi naman yun (priority) para sa akin,” she said. “Wag nilang masamain yung strategy ng mga coaches kasi nagtitiwala kami sa kanila.“
Delos Santos is not dealing with the bashing as his rotation with Rondina has been working for the past two All-Filipino conference winning back-to-back titles and until this time, where they won five of their first six matches.
“Marami kaming plan para sa team so hindi kami pwedeng (paapekto) kung ano yung sasabihin nila kasi kami yung nakakaalam ng team namin,” Delos Santos lamented. “Nagstart pa lang yung conference napakahaba nito hindi pa namin pwede ilatag lahat.”
“Hindi ko kailangan magexplain sa kanila kasi kung mapapansin nila meron nang kasagutan doon. Hopefully, mas maappreciate na lang nila kung ano yung nagiging performance namin and siyempre God bless din sa kanila,” he added.
As Petron’s ever-reliable ‘super-sub’, Rondina vows to keep on delivering and showing her all-out game as she seeks to help Petron in achieving an unprecedented ‘three-peat’ championship in PSL All-Filipino Conference.
“Basta ako sa sarili, I’m ready and I’m always willing to help my team,” Rondina said. “Sabi nga sa amin, got your back always ganun ako dito ngayon. Walang problema sa akin hindi makalaro basta as long as yung teammates namin nagpeperform ng maayos.”