Tireless Sisi Rondina sets new UST scoring milestone
MANILA, Philppines – High-flying skipper Sisi Rondina has given University of Santo Tomas (UST) a bit of consolation after the Tigresses absorbed a five-set heartbreaker against the Ateneo Lady Eagles in UAAP women’s volleyball.
Ranged against Ateneo's towering stalwarts, Rondina still recorded a career-high 35 points off 30 attacks, 3 blocks and 2 aces to set the record for most points scored by a UST player in a single game.
Rondina – who surpassed the 33-point production set by former UST star Aiza Maizo in 2009 – notched her 35th point during the deciding set against the Lady Eagles when she flew up high and hammered down a kill the that cut the UST deficit to two, 11-13.
More than breaking UST’s record books, the fiery spiker also tied the UAAP scoring record in the Final Four era set by former Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez in 2013.
After her record-setting night, Rondina hopes to sustain her energy as the Tigresses try to bounce back from the painful loss.
"Hindi ako susuko, lalaban ako, hindi ako mapapagod (I won't give up, I won't get tired of fighting)," she said.
The league standout nicknamed the "Cherry Bomb" did look tireless during the grueling five-set match that lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Rondina had 102 attack attempt that made up almost half of UST’s total 232 attempted spikes. Thirty of those were converted into points.
"Inisip ko lang na bawal ako mapagod, sinabihan ko yung setter ko, sila MaFe (Galanza), sila Alina (Bicar) na hindi ako mapapagod magpalo, wag lang kayo mapagod mag coverage. Gagawan ko ng paraan para lumusot," said Rondina.
(I kept thinking that I couldn't get tired so I told our setter MaFe Galanza and Alina Bicar that I wouldn't get tired of spiking, so don't get tired with your coverage. I'd find a way to get a point.)
Even if she made it look effortless, Rondina admitted she had a hard time dealing with Ateneo's towering roster.
"Ang lalaki talaga, promise, swear to God. Ginawa ko na yung best ko pero sobrang ang taas. Ang tatangkad na eh tapos pag pumasok pa yung kamay, mas lalong tumangkad sila."
(They're so tall, swear to God. I gave my best, but they're all so tall, more so when they put their hands up.)
With UST up 2-0, Rondina was on pace to upset Ateneo for the first time in her collegiate career before the Tigresses had a meltdown in the next 3 sets.
Despite the collapse, Rondina shared that the UST coaching staff heaped praises on the squad for putting up a fight against the league's No.1 team.
“Lagi naman talagang dumadaan sa bibig natin na ‘Sayang, hindi nanalo.’ Wala talaga, may nananalo, may natututo and matututo sa ginalaw namin kanina," she said.
"Yung laro namin, actually nagpraise pa nga sa amin yung mga coaches namin kasi ang ganda nga raw tingnan, naglaro kami nang maayos. Ano lang talaga, kinapos lang talaga.”
(We always say: 'What a waste, we didn't win.' Well there's always a winner and there are learnings. Actually, the coaches even praised us for playing well, but we just fell short.)
Rondina said the Tigresses just have to move on and focus on their Final Four bid.
"It’s God’s plan and let it be and tatanggapin ko yun ng buong puso na talo kami," said Rondina. "One game at a time lagi. Bilog ang bola."
(It's God's plan and let it be and I accept it with all my heart that we lost. One game at a time always. Anything can happen.) – Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com