SISI Rondina’s desire and promise to bring back the glory to University of Santo Tomas after nine years makes her unstoppable.
“Nagbitaw na ako ng salita gagawin ko po lahat para mabalik ang UST and yung korona sa España and papaninidigan na namin ‘to,” said the high-flying Cebuana after a show-stopping Game 1 performance.
Rondina unleashed a statement game against the Ateneo team, which she hadn’t beaten in five years and UST losing 15 straight matches since its second round triumph in 2012.
In the biggest stage of Season 81, the graduating team captain put up 23 points to torch the Lady Eagles in three sets and draw the first blood in their best-of-three Finals series on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rondina was unstoppable all through out the match as she was 40 percent both on attacking (20-of-50) and blocking (2-of-5) and delivered the clutch hits of each sets.
“Ang masasabi ko lang kasi sa palo ko ngayon nilagyan ko lang siya ng variation,” said the Season 81 MVP. “Nakikinig ako sa mga bata at mga coaches namin na hindi lahat malakas, hindi lahat brasuhan, kailangan utakan.”
“Wala akong ibang inisip kundi lulusot ‘to, pupuntos ‘to para sa team ko,” she added.
There’s nothing special about her preparation for the game, the 22-year-old spiker just kept her focus in her first and last Finals appearance in UAAP.
“Sobrang focused lang talaga ako, wala kmaing ibang inisip laro lang talaga, kung ano galaw ko ano receive ko service ko,” said Rondina, who also had 12 digs and five excellent receptions.
“Nag-imagery na ako kagabi pa sabi ko nga okay 'to pag gising ko nanaginip ako sa laro pero di ko alam sino nanalo,” she added. “Pag gising ko parang muscle memory na lang siguro.”
But what mattered most in Rondina’s performance was her influence that fueled the team work with Eya Laure, Alina Bicar, Caitlyn Viray, Ysa Jimenez, KC Galdones and Janel Delerio, who never stopped listening to her and coach Kungfu Reyes.
“Pinapakita ko sa mga bata attitude ko na kailangan nating manalo, inaasam asam na namin ‘to,” Rondina said. “Ang sarap sa feeling na ganito, sabay sabay na tayong manalo at ngumiti pagkatapos ng araw na to.”
But Rondina was quick to insist that the fight is not over shifting her focus on the golden trophy in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.