Sisi Rondina had a memorable and inspiring 2019.
Capping a banner year by helping the Philippines its first Southeast Asian Games women’s beach volleyball podium finish since 2005, Rondina will receive the Ms. Volleyball recognition in the SMC-Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night on March 6.
Not only that, but Rondina is also a 37th SMB-SAC All-Cebu Sports Awardee, where she will receive the award on February 29 in Cebu City.
A native of Compostela, Cebu, the 23-year-old Rondina — who is now with the newly-formed Creamline beach volleyball club — joins the ranks of Alyssa Valdez (three times), Mika Reyes and Dawn Macandili who were previously bestowed with the prestigious PSA honor.
“For me, blessed sobra. ‘Di ko naman din po inakala na ganito po ang ibabalik sa akin. Minahal ko lang talaga mga commitments ko and siyempre, putting efforts sa lahat ng mga ginagawa ko lalo sa paglalaro po,” said Rondina.
Prior to winning the SEA Games bronze medal, Rondina joined forces with her long-time partner Bernadeth Pons to steer the Philippines to a quarterfinals finish in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star Boracay Open last May.
In the same month, Rondina scintillated on the Taraflex floor, winning the MVP honors for University of Santo Tomas, then leading the Tigresses to their first UAAP women’s volleyball finals appearance in eight years.
In her last season in the sand court, Rondina paired with Babylove Barbon to cement UST’s status as the most successful women’s beach volleyball program while claiming her fourth MVP plum.
Rondina takes pride in her roots in Cebu.
“Wow, people are treating me like that po, pero ‘di ko iniisip ‘yang mga ganyan kasi everyone can be a pride of their town. But thankful kasi isa ako sa mga nabiyayaan,” said Rondina.
“Sana in some way maging tool ito to inspire young ones and siyempre for those player na katulad ko, kahit ano ka pa, sino ka man, ‘pag may pangarap ka walang imposible.”
Rondina also credited Beach Volleyball Republic founder and national team manager Charo Soriano for what she is enjoying right now in her beach volleyball journey.
“I’ve been watching Sisi since her younger years. And I’ve seen her play with so much raw passion. And people love the way she plays. Kasi alam mo she’s giving her all every single time, for every single point. And combining her raw passion with exposure and maturity made her an even greater player,” said Soriano.
“Her obstacles from when she was young up to today are her reason for wanting to be better. Her life experiences were tough, but she proved that she’s tougher. And I love that about her. She has a big fight in her.”
Together with Pons, Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez, Rondina spearheaded the country’s beach volleyball campaign in the SEA Games.
Rondina didn’t fail the adoring fans that trooped the Subic Tennis Courts, ending the Philippines’ 14-year medal drought in the sport.
“I’ve gotten close to Sisi over the past months, especially during SEA Games. I’ve seen her work ethic in training, her discipline with her body, and her passion for the sport. She showed me her vulnerability when she cried after they lost their first game against Indonesia (2017 SEAG gold medalists). It was such a close game, three sets, 16-14. And she said,’“Ate Cha, kaya natin sila talunin. Malakas sila pero malakas din tayo. Lamang lang sila sa programa at sa exposure.’ Her dedication was so genuine,” said Soriano.
“And at that moment I said to myself that I’ll do what I can for them, for the players, for the coaches, for the beach volleyball community. The women’s and men’s won bronze last SEA Games. They are just starting their journey towards greatness. Sisi will have many more stories to share. And I can’t wait.”
While Rondina is trying to continue to grow the game of beach volleyball locally and internationally, she remains determined to inspire further young and aspiring players, especially those from the province.
“Ako honestly, didn’t expect na ganitong biyaya ang binigay sa ‘kin, pero ang alam ko pinagdadasal ko lahat para sa pamilya ko at para sa mga taong naniniwala sa akin. Actually para sa ‘kin, wala lang ‘to kasi ang mas timbang sa akin kung ano ‘yung mga behind ng awards ko. Mga tulong at mga napasaya ko or sa amin, ‘yun ang nag ma-matter sa akin,” said Rondina.
“And siyempre huwag na ‘wag nilang kalimutan ang nasa Itaas, disiplina sa sarili. At ‘wag na ‘wag makalimot sa mga taong tumulong sa ‘yo. Lastly, huwag na huwag susuko sa mga pangarap na minimithi. Kahit sino at ano ka pa, maging totoo ka lang at maipakita mo kung ano ang kaya mong gawin, ‘yun na ‘yun.”
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