Most volleyball teams aren’t built to have deep benches. The Petron Blaze Spikers, however, keep an ace up their sleeve at all times.
Petron were undefeated heading into Game One of the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference Finals, but looked vulnerable against the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers.
The Cargo Movers were as defiant as they were in their previous four Finals meetings against Petron, taking a 19-13 lead in the first set.
When the F2 Logistics’ fire broke out, Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos smashed the emergency glass and whipped out Sisi Rondina.
The Cebuana came in for Molina and provided a much-needed spark to propel the Blaze Spikers to a tight first set win. To clinch the match, Rondina put on a show in the third set, scoring six of her game-high 12 points – all coming off highlight reel-worthy spikes.
The 5-foot-6 spiker has always been Petron’s sparkplug. And the University of Santo Tomas product’s acceptance of her role – when she could arguably start over best friend Bernadeth Pons or National Team pool member Ces Molina – has given the Blaze Spikers an undeniable edge.
Rondina admitted that she was nervous heading into Game One, as she did not want to ruin Petron’s rhythm. Throughout the Blaze Spikers 13-game winning streak, they have rarely needed Rondina.
“Sabi ko kay Coach Shaq kung puwede lang na hindi ako ipasok kasi ang gaganda talaga nang ginagalaw nila lately.
“Ako, nagda-doubt din ako sa sarili ko na ako pa ‘yung maging malas o sumira ng chemistry,” the 22-year-old admitted.
The UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Best Scorer has mostly focused on supporting her teammates. She is aware, however, that the best way to support her teammates is to sometimes come in for them and continue the fight.
“Kanina, sinabihan ko sila Pons and Ate Ces na diretso lang sila. Okay lang kami sa labas. Babawi lang kami kapag kinailangan na. Hindi ko ‘to in-expect na ganito ‘yung kalalabasan. Pumasok ako kanina para bumawi para kay Ate Ces,” added Rondina, who has been with Petron since last year.
“Aminado ako na kabado ako kanina. Siguro, pinakita ko na lang kung paano ako maglaro. Pinandigan ko ‘yung pagiging energizer sa team. Wala na akong pakialam kung panget man ‘yung mukha ko, basta makatulong sa team na ma-energizer sila.”
Come Game Two, Rondina is ready for whenever she is needed in the match.
“Wala kaming advantage. Sa sarili ko, wala akong ganoon na iniisip. Kaya bumawi ng F2,” shared Rondina, who is gunning for her fifth PSL championship. “Unang-una, mga beterana talaga sila.
“Back to zero kami ulit, trababo lang. Kailangan namin ayusin ‘yung mga weaknesses namin.”
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