STANDING out in the 2013 Palarong Pambansa, Sisi Rondina had colleges in Manila truly coveting her services.
Yet through all those offers, she chose to go to University of Santo Tomas.
How did UST pull it off? It turns out, persistence really does pay.
The 5-foot-7 sparkplug shared to The Prospects Pod how she, a little-known spiker from Compostela in Cebu, ended up in España despite offers from other schools.
"Dapat po talaga committed na ako talaga sa isang UAAP school pero medyo natagalan din yung pag-update sa akin," she said.
"Itong si coach Dolo, update nang update sa akin talaga. Hindi ko naman siya pinapansin tuwing nagcha-chat. Pero ako naman, summer yun eh at wala rin akong ginawa."
Beach volleyball coach Paul Jan Doloiras tried his best to pique the interest of Rondina to consider UST as her collegiate destination, bringing her to Manila and showing her what could be her future home.
"Ang ginawa ni coach, binigyan niya ako ng ticket and then sabi niya, 'Tour ka lang, mga five days.' So nag-tour ako sa Manila and then binigyan din ako ng dorm. Ang galing niya kasi kinabukasan nun, may USTET so wala na akong magagawa. Tiniming niya. Sabi niya, 'Sige, take ka lang. Walang mawawala.' So nag-take din ako," she recounted.
Rondina's interest spiked after her short trip to Manila that she was ready to be a Golden Tigress.
But her father Arnold had one last requirement before she allowed her daughter to head to UST.
"Pagkauwi namin dito, sabi ko kay Papa na, 'Pa, okay yung UST. Maganda.' Then sabi naman ni Papa, 'Papuntahin mo muna yung coach mo dito.' Manligaw daw muna sa akin," she said.
Doloiras was up to the task, going to Cebu and assuring the elder Rondina that Sisi will be in good hands.
"Parang yung responsibilidad ni Papa, binigay niya. Pinasa niya kay coach hanggang nagtuloy-tuloy na," she said.
Tiresome as the journey was, it was all worth it for Doloiras and UST as Rondina won four gold medals in beach volleyball and was also named as the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball MVP as she became the latest addition to the long line of Queen Tigresses.