SISI Rondina and Eya Laure remain focus on delivering a long-overdue UAAP women's volleyball championship to University of Santo Tomas after emerging as the biggest winners of the Season 81 individual awards.
Rondina is set to be crowned with her first MVP award after leading the Tigresses to a second-place finish at 10-4 win-loss in the elims and their first finals appearance in eight years at the expense of dethroned champion La Salle.
The Cebuana high-flyer became the first Tigress to be named MVP since Venus Bernal in 2007 and only the second player to win both beach volleyball and indoor MVP awards in a season since FEU’s Wendy Semana in 2008.
Rondina, who also won the Best Scorer and 2nd Best Outside Spiker award, insisted all she covets is the championship trophy.
“Gusto ko talaga big trophy. Gusto ko lang talaga (mag-champion). Parang walang (impact sa puso ko ito) kasi gusto ko nga big trophy,” said Rondina a day before Game One of the best-of-three finals against Ateneo at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Laure was the closest pursure of teammate Rondina in the MVP race and settled for the Rookie of the Year and 1st Best Outside spiker honors.
The 20-year-old said their captain deserves the MVP crown.
“Deserved niya naman yung MVP na yun, makikita mo pa lang sa laro niya,” Laure. said. “Starting this season pa lang hindi naman namin focus yung individual awards, kumbaga bonus na lan din yun."
Laure echoed Rondina's statements that the Tigresses' sole focus is on Ateneo, which UST hasn’t beaten since 2012.
“Nandoon kami talaga sa mas malaking picture kasi siyempre mas gusto namin makuha yung championship na ‘to and mas naka-focus kami dito,” Laure said.
“Sabi nga sa akin ni coach Kungfu (Reyes), high school pa lang ako, yung individual awards hindi naman yan natatandaan year per year kung sino nakakuha ng award. Mas natatandaan kung sino nagcha-champion.”
This is the first time that the MVP and Rookie of the Year awardees came from the same team since Aby Marano and rookie Ara Galang in 2012. The two eventually led their team to a championship.
Rondina doesn't want to let this opportunity slip away.
“Ito na yung pagkakataon, ibinigay sa atin, wag na nating sayangin. Ayun hahawaan ko lang ang mga bata, kahit na mapagod na, whatever it takes,” Rondina said.
“If you put your heart in every game, if you put your 101 percent effort para lang maglaro for your team, walang problema. Makukuha’t makukuha mo kung anong gusto mo.”