MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) star Sisi Rondina was brutally honest in her assessment of her team's performance after the Golden Tigresses succumbed to University of the Philippines (UP) in four sets on Wednesday.
"Wala," said Rondina. "Nagkalat talaga kami."
Rondina's frank statement came after the Golden Tigresses convened in a lengthy players' only meeting that lasted nearly an hour after their 33-31, 23-25, 16-25, 12-25 loss to the Fighting Maroons.
It was their second straight defeat in the UAAP Season 80 women's volleyball tournament, dropping their record to 2-4.
Initially, it appeared that UST was on its way to bouncing back. They won the opening set in epic fashion, saving six set points before finally putting the Lady Maroons away. They went toe-to-toe with UP in the second set, but faltered in the final rally which saw Carla Sandoval get emphatically rejected by Ayel Estrañero.
It was all downhill for UST from there, and not even the booming kills of Rondina could shake their listless play.
"Walang dapat sisihin kung 'di 'yung sarili namin. Nilaban na kami nila coach. Kailangan na nga na kami naman 'yung lumaban," said Rondina, who had 23 points in a losing effort.
The Tigresses made the crucial mistake of dwelling on their unforced errors, with Rondina admittedly getting frustrated with herself as she committed a series of poor hits.
"Hindi lang talaga nagamit 'yung word na bawi," she lamented. "Hindi naman agad mabalik 'yung sarili namin sa sitwasyon kaya hindi kami nananalo."
"Sa sarili ko, na-frustrate ako. Kasi, aminado ako na marami akong mali," she added. "Pero, kung 'yun lang ang iisipin ko, wala, 'di talaga kami mananalo."
"Nahihirapan na mga kasama ko, tapos 'yun pa ipapakita ko, pangit talaga. Iniisip ko na lang bumawi ako, kahit sa ibang skills na alam kong makakabawi ako."
It was the first time in Season 80 that the Tigresses lost in such disappointing fashion. Even when they went up against powerhouse teams like National University and De La Salle University, UST put up a superb fight; they even dragged the defending champions to five sets in their season-opener.
"Hindi ganito eh," said Rondina. "Hindi ganito."
The good news for UST and its supporters is that the Tigresses have cleared the air after their long meeting. According to Rondina, they discussed how they can fix their issues, and the high-flying spiker is confident that they will bounce back.
"Hindi naman ako nawawalan ng pag-asa," said Rondina. "Sabi ko sa kanila, ang mindset natin lagi is pag pumunta tayo sa giyera, iisipin natin na mananalo tayo lagi."
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