Sisi Rondina’s homestretch: No regrets, only thankful to play for UST

It has been a remarkable journey for Sisi Rondina who, in the last five years, fought for the glory of the España squad like no other.

One of the feistiest players to ever don the gold and black, Rondina provided both the power and the leadership to lift her team up until the very end.

Her wild ride has ended today.

The graduating team captain might not have gotten the ending she wanted as the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses failed to clinch the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball title after dropping Game Three against the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in straight sets, 17-25, 22-25, 22-25, earlier at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Drawing first blood in the series after a straight-set sweep over the Lady Eagles in Game One, the Tigresses couldn’t seem to keep up the same intensity in their succeeding two games as they got overwhelmed with their opponents’ level of play today.

Despite Rondina’s 18-point effort in the last game of the season, it wasn’t enough to muscle UST through the league-leading Lady Eagles.

While she finished her UAAP career without a championship, Rondina still sung her school hymn with unwavering pride.

No regrets after all, said the graduating Rondina, who chose to stay and fight for the España squad despite the uphill journey.

“No regrets, never. [I’m] thankful because I wore my UST jersey–malaki ang nabago sa buhay ko dahil sa UST, kaya wala akong regrets. I learned a lot and gained a lot of experience,” Rondina said.

Playing to their #KamiNaman battlecry this season, Rondina lifted the Tigresses up to a 10-4 finish and a twice-to-beat advantage after the elimination round.

After nine years of a finals drought, the graduating team captain gave it her all to power the España squad back to the finals, defeating defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers during their semifinal match.

While she failed to keep her promise to head coach Kungfu Reyes of giving UST another championship, Rondina still expressed her joy of playing for the Thomasian faithful–a community that never faltered in supporting them all throughout her stay.

After the game, the España ace came out the venue to a familiar drumbeat and a dedicated community.

“Grateful, blessed, and thankful kami because we have that community na through ups and downs, mapagkakatiwalaan mong  laging nasa inyong likod. Mami-miss ko ‘yung ganitong moments,” she said.

This season saw the comeback of the Tigresses, who ended last season in heartbreaking fashion with a 4-10 record after the elimination round. In their core was Rondina, who consistently produced double-digit performances to lift her team up in every game.

Despite falling short of what she aimed to achieve this season, Rondina is leaving the den with no regrets–only pride and gratitude to have represented UST for five whole years.

“Worth it. Hindi ako nagsisi na tinapos ko lahat ng playing years ko with UST. Sabi ko nga sa mga bata, love UST the way I love UST. I’m thankful to be called a Thomasian,” Rondina ended.



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