UST eyes perfect finale for Rondina
MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) has another goal in mind aside from making it to the Final Four – to give senior Sisi Rondina a winning send-off.
With their dominant three-set victory against the University of the Philippines, the Golden Tigresses have secured at least a playoff berth as they wound up tied with Far Eastern University (FEU) with an 8-4 card.
For rookie superstar Eya Laure, clinching a seat in the Final Four could be the best send-off present for UST stalwart Sisi Rondina.
"Ayaw ko bigyan si Ate Sisi [Rondina] na hanggang [eliminations] lang kami. Entering this UAAP na season, iyon 'yung sinasabi ko sa kanya. Gusto ko 'yung deserve niya, maibigay namin. Di lang ako pero lahat kami," said Laure.
(I don’t want to give our senior Sisi Rondina an elimination-round exit. I told her that before this season started. We all want to give her the exit she deserves.)
Should the Tigresses win their last two games against FEU and National University (NU), this would be the season that the "Cherry Bomb" had imagined for her final year with the España-based squad.
"Maipanalo lang namin 'yung mga remaining games, okay na kami noon, okay na ako noon," said Rondina. "Pero mas maganda na makaabot kami sa tuktok talaga, iyon 'yung gusto namin."
(If we win the next two games, then I’ll be happy with that. But it’ll be nicer to reach the top, that’s what we want.)
UST, which faced an early deficit in the 1st and 3rd sets, leaned on Rondina's leadership and scoring as she dazzled with a 20-point performance.
"'Yung ginawa ko ginuide ko lang sila, lahat ng mga positive na kailangang sabihin, sinabi ko lang para maboost 'yung mga bata pag nagkakamali sila," said Rondina.
(I just guided them by saying all the positive things that they needed to hear. It’s to boost the spirit of the rookies.)
“Siyempre sinasabihan ko 'yung mga bata na for good exit na rin. Maganda kasi is sobrang responsive ng mga bata," she added. "Nandoon 'yung competitiveness nila, 'yung pagiging matured sa laro. Di ka tinitignan as a senior, titinitignan ka as teammate lang.”
(I told the rookies that I want a good exit. The good thing is they’re very responsive, competitive and matured. They don’t see you as a senior. Everyone’s equal.)
The high-flying skipper assured that the Golden Tigresses won’t step on the brakes and will continue climbing to the top of the standings.
"Pag nandoon 'yung complacency namin, anytime pwede mawala sa amin iyon eh. Lagi na lang kami kumakapit sa word na 'kaya namin.' Pero di namin makukuha iyon pag di namin trinabaho," said Rondina.
(If we become complacent, we’ll probably lose our spot in the Final Four. In our minds, we always said ‘we can do this,’ but we also need to work hard.)
"Wala kami 'yung relax lang. Pukpukan kami sa training and lahat ng tiwala na binibigay nila coach, puro apply-apply, wala ng labas. Dito lang sa utak and how we do it with love."
(We don’t need to relax. We’ll work hard in our training and we’ll put into action all the trust that coach gives us. We need to have a proper mindset and do everything with love.) – Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com
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