MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas (UST) veteran Sisi Rondina is the first to acknowledge that she has not been performing up to par, four games into their campaign in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.
Rondina has scored 70 points through their first four matches, and is converting a relatively tidy 31.22% of her attempts – still the sixth-best mark in the league.
But the graduating open spiker knows that she can be much, much better, especially for a UST team that has high expectations this year.
Last Saturday against Far Eastern University (FEU), Rondina put up 16 points – just a shade below her average – and the Tigresses bowed to the Lady Tamaraws after already losing Milena Alessandrini to injury.
Rondina was hard on herself afterwards. She had committed a crucial service error late in the fourth frame, and had struggled with cramps on both calves to boot. FEU carved out a 19-25, 25-20, 25-19, 27-25 win.
"Galit na ako sa sarili ko," she admitted, after UST dropped to 2-2. "Sinusuntok ko na, ginaganon ko na ng sapatos 'yung mukha ko. Kasi, para kasing... para akong baguhan kanina."
Rondina was far from efficient against FEU, converting just 15 of 58 spike attempts. She did her best to make up for every error that she committed, but her own aggression backfired on her.
"Pinipilit ko talaga na pinipilit na makabalik. And, kahit sabihin ba naman na, marami akong pinupuntos, marami rin akong tinatapon. Pero, andoon 'yung kailangan kong bumalik kasi nawala na si Milena. Tina-try ko talaga," said Rondina.
"So wala akong inisip kanina, bawi lang ng bawi," she added. "(Pero) kinapos kami."
The Cebu native could not immediately explain the reason for her struggles. She admitted that she fell ill the week before their game against FEU, but stressed that it was not an excuse for her performance.
"Ako 'yung unang nagtapon," she again said. "Nakaka-inis. Hindi ko ba alam kung ano na nangyayari sa akin."
"Pero ang gusto ko lang talaga kanina, bumawi ng bumawi pero hindi nag-cooperate ang utak at katawan ko," Rondina added.
Rondina knows that she will have to regain her form sooner rather than later, especially with the Tigresses expected to miss Alessandrini for at least two weeks.
"Feel ko nasa bangungot pa ata ako, binabangungot na ako ngayon," she said.
"Ikaw, alam mo sa sarili mo na ikaw yung nagtatapon, ikaw 'yung may mali. Ikaw, ikaw, ikaw. Parang ayun," she added. "Pero andoon talaga 'yung 'Bawi Si, bawi.' Kailangan ganito, ganyan, hindi na mauulit ito."
UST will certainly need the best version of Rondina on Wednesday, when the Tigresses take on defending champion De La Salle University. She and rookie ace Eya Laure are expected to do the heavy lifting, with Alessandrini out of the match.
"Double time kami para kay Milena, and not just Milena pero for all the supporters ng UST," vowed Rondina.
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