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Beach Volleyball

New teammate, same dominant Rondina

UAAP Season 79 Women’s Beach Volleyball MVP Cherry Rondina

There is a ferocious passion in the way Cherry Rondina plays volleyball.

Draped in the sunlight and studded with sand, Rondina displays a unique fervor whenever she plays beach volleyball. While other players find playing on sand cumbersome, the diminutive Rondina comfortably leaps and glides off the court for powerful spikes. Like a trout bursting from a stream, Rondina explodes from the sand to deliver unmatched power on the sandcourt.

The 19-year-old Cebuana first crossed the UAAP radar with a run at the Season 77 beach title – her rookie year – with fellow first-timer Rica Rivera.

Season 78 had been forgettable for the Rondina-Rivera tandem as injuries kept them out of the Final Four.

With new partner Jem Gutierrez, Rondina regained her deadly form.

For Season 79, the University of Santo Tomas managed to replicate Rondina’s Season 77 run: sweeping the elimination round and losing just one match in the Finals to claim the title.UAAP-79-Beach-Volley-Rondina-0035 New teammate, same dominant Rondina Beach Volleyball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

In three seasons of UAAP Beach Volleyball, Rondina has compiled a lifetime’s worth of accomplishments: two championships, two MVP awards, a 22-5 overall win-loss record, and a 48-12 sets won ratio.

For all the flak that the proud UST indoor program has caught over the past few years, Rondina has been instrumental to keeping their winning tradition in beach volleyball going.

Rondina had desperately wanted to make up for last year and their subpar performance indoor.

“Sobrang saya ko lang po talaga kasi sobrang gusto po namin makabawi. Grabe kasi ‘yung pagod na pinagdaanan namin para makarating dito kaya ginawa namin ang lahat para magkaresulta,” the 5’5” spiker said minutes after they won the championship.

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For all her brilliance, Rondina admitted that she has a cumbersome personality that makes it hard for her to form harmonious partnerships.

“Sabi po ng coach namin na sa loob ng court, walang senior-senior. Ako naman po, alam kong madalas ako nake-carried away ng mga emosyon ko. Nasisigawan ko talaga minsan si Ate Jem, minsan nag-aaway kami,” Rondina confessed.

“Pero gusto ko lang po kasi talaga manalo. Lagi ko po talaga iniisip ngayon ‘yung actions ko at ‘yung mga sinasabi ko. Alam ko po kasing kailangan namin magtulungan kung gugustuhin namin manalo ni Ate Jem.”

Gutierrez was not immune to Rondina’s exuberance, but she acknowledges that Rondina knows what it takes to win, most of the time.UAAP-79-Beach-Volley-Rondina-0053 New teammate, same dominant Rondina Beach Volleyball News UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“Sanay na po ako kay Sisi (Rondina). Masisigawan ka po talaga niya, pero alam ko namang ganyan siya kasi gusto niya lang talaga manalo. Natuto nanaman po kaming mag-usap talaga. Ang maganda po sa aming dalawa ngayon is nakikinig na kami ng maigi sa gustong sabihin noong isa,” Gutierrez said of her partner.

“Sobrang galing po talaga ni Sisi. Kahit senior ako, aminado akong mas marami akong natutunan kasi naging partner ko siya. ‘Yung mga tipong player ni Sisi ‘yung nagiging inspiration ng team para gumaling. Kailangan ko talagang tapatan ‘yung laro at passion niya.”

With two years remaining in her collegiate playing eligibility, Rondina can fortify her legacy as the greatest to ever play in the UAAP.

For now, Rondina seeks to rest and recover and help the indoor squad back to prominence.

“Rest muna po siguro ngayon then laro na ng indoor. Malaki na po ang confidence ko ngayon and sana madala ko ito sa indoor namin. Lahat naman po willing akong gawin para makatulong sa team.”

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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