MANILA -- Three UAAP titles. Three UAAP MVP plums.
University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Cherry Ann "Sisi" Rondina has added another championship and MVP title to her growing list of accolades in the sand court after sweeping the UAAP Season 80 women’s beach volleyball tournament last Saturday.
Rondina propelled the UST to its nine-game sweep of the tournament en route to back-to-back titles, capping it with a 21-15, 21-19, beating of the Far Eastern University (FEU) duo of Bernadett Pons and Kyla Atienza in Game 2 of the finals series. It was her third UAAP crown in the last four seasons.
Rondina was also hailed as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, her third in four years, too.
Just before the UAAP season started, Rondina teamed up with Pons to represent the Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore. The two were also partners when they ruled the 2017 PSL Beach Volleyball Cup last May where Rondina was named as MVP.
With all these achievements, many consider her as one of, if not the best, beach volleyball players in the country today.
But Rondina is not claiming it.
The diminutive spiker of UST credited all her victories to God and her coaches who made everything possible for her in the sand court.
“Hindi [ko kino-consider ‘yung sarili ko as the best beach volleyball player]. Kung meron man ganoon, si God ‘yun,” Rondina told reporters. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa Kanya kasi ‘di ko akalain na ganito ‘yung makukuha ko sa talentong ibinigay Niya sa 'kin. 'Di ako magiging ganito kung wala sila [coaches].
Rondina has captured all her beach volleyball titles with different partners, which did not pose a problem to the team’s campaign in every tournament.
“Iniisip ko another opportunity naman na to have partner to cherish. Hindi ko iniisip kung ano ang skill niya. Iniisip ko na tutulong siya sa akin,” said Rondina.
The multi-awarded athlete first clinched her UAAP title in Season 77 with Rica Rivera before reclaiming the crown in Season 79 with Jem Gutierrez.
She also has nothing but praise for her young partner Caitlin Viray, who was visibly the target of their opponents on the sand.
“Si Cait kasi sumusunod talaga siya at saka may attitude siya na palaban,” said Rondina. “Hindi ko inisip na baguhan si Cait. Sinabi ko sa kanya na walang ‘Ate’ dito, walang senior. Basta, gawin lang natin ‘yung ikakabuti ng team natin.”
Asked if she will return in Season 81 for a possible three-peat, Rondina assured she will be back next year for her final playing year.
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