Sisi Rondina was claiming it: Game Two of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Finals against Ateneo was going to be her final collegiate match.
Everything was set up for a fairytale ending for the University of Santo Tomas captain.
Not only did Rondina have a chance to bring the Golden Tigresses a long-awaited title, she was also crowned MVP in a touching ceremony that included her family.
Game Two, however, was unkind to UST. First, an injury to Season 81 Rookie of the Year Eya Laure derailed their momentum. Then, not even a 22-point explosion from Rondina could save the Tigresses from a Game Three.
Rondina rued Laure’s injury, but still lauded her teammates for continuing to fight.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko ‘Oh, come on.’
“Accept ko na na may mangyayare at mangyayare. Parang ready na ako na may mangyayare kasi anytime naman, parang ganoon talaga, may pwedeng may mangyare,” Rondina recalled, referring to when Laure went down early in the third set.
“Hindi naman ganoong kalala yung nangyare kay Eya. Ganoon talaga siguro kapag may bumagsak; parang nawala agad. At least, makikita niyo na lumaban. Lumaban kami. We had lots of lapses. Thankful ako kasi nandoon pa rin yung ‘Tara, ate, babawi.’ Yung mga maliliit na bagay. Pero ang laking impact sa sarili na marinig mo yun sa mga bata,” the 22-year-old continued.
“Sabi nga ni coach (Kungfu Reyes) kanina na ito yung taste, ito yung experience kapag natatalo, lalo na sa important game. Motivation, we have Game Three pa. Yung mga positive words ni coach nandoon palagi.”
Rondina’s parents fly back to Cebu tomorrow.
Although the Tigresses didn’t celebrate a title, Rondina was grateful to the UST community for making her family feel loved and providing an electric atmosphere in their first time watching at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sad. Still thankful kasi naramdaman nila (her family) kung paano sumuporta ang UST community. Nandoon sila, nakasaksi sila kung ano yung UAAP. Though natalo kami, nakita namin na ganoon sila mag-cheer sa amin. Lalo na ako, kasi first time ng parents ko sa Manila,” she said.
“Come back stronger talaga. Akala ko nga rin last day ko na ngayon. Hindi pala. Na-extend pa yung pagiging Golden Tigress ko. Thankful pa rin kasi hindi ganoong kalala yung nangyare kay Eya. Alam kong babawi kami. It’s just a bad game.”
In her final outing as a Golden Tigress, Rondina vows to give everything she has to win a title.
“Hindi ko na papalagpasin. Sabi nga whatever it takes. Doon at doon na lang ang kaya, so push na lang hanggang matapos yung liga na ‘to.”
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