With their backs against the wall, the Petron Blaze Spikers went to their smallest attacker in Sisi Rondina in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga Invitational Cup.
Without the Cebuana, the Finals would have much less exciting, as she constantly revived the Blaze Spikers when they were grasping for points against the gritty F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
The the 5-foot-6 spiker was most magical in Game Two, scoring 20 points – including a solo 5-0 run to cap a second set comeback.
But it was all for naught, as the Cargo Movers decisively took control of the match and the title.
“Masakit kasi hindi namin nakuha ‘yung champiomship. Still, we’re content naman. Lahat nilabas namin. Nasa kanila lang talaga ‘yung spot ngayon,” the 21-year-old told Tiebreaker Times.
“Wala namang panghihinayang kasi alam namin na nilaban namin at hindi namin pinahaya ‘yung Petron. Sobrang umiyak ako, honestly, pero I know everything happens for a reason.”
The atmosphere of a do-or-die game perfectly suited Rondina’s do-it-all, virtuoso personality. There wasn’t anything on her mind other than forcing a rubber match.
“Before I arrived here, I promised to myself and coach (Shaq Delos Santos) na may Game Three ito. Wala akong ibang inisip, Game Three lang,” the native of Compostela, Cebu shared.
“To get there, alam kong kailangan kong bumanat. Hindi naman ako sad ngayon, tagilid lang.”
There was no championship, but Rondina did go home with a Second Best Open Spiker award – her first nod in the club ranks.
But if there’s one thing that she wanted the most, it was to be the Player of the Game so that she could greet her sister a happy graduation.
“Unexpected itong award. Ang pinananlangin ko lang talaga is championship. Siguro ito ‘yung makakapatunay sa akin na kaya ko sumabay,” she revealed. “‘Yung game talaga na ‘to dedicated sa family ko. Sabi ko sa tatay ko na I’ll try my best to get Player of the Game sa Game Two para batiin kayo kasi graduation ng ate ko.
“Unang-una, happy ako kasi nakatulong ako kay ate makatapos ng college.”
Having experienced being on the biggest stage in the PSL several times, Rondina wants to finish her UAAP career with a Finals appearance.
With a revamped lineup, the Tigresses are hopeful of giving the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball Tournament Best Scorer a proper send-off.
“Pinakauna ko pa lang na punta ko dito sa Manila, gusto ko na maramdaman ‘yung championship sa UAAP. Pero, hindi naman agad makukuha ‘yun. Para sa sarili ko, sa UST, sa lahat nang sumusuporta, ilalabas ko lahat ko bawat game – last year na eh,” the incoming super senior admitted.
“Wala nang atrasan.”