Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure connived to carry University of Sto. Tomas past Ateneo de Manila University in Game 1 of the UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Finals, last Saturday at Araneta Coliseum.
By themselves, soon-to-be MVP Rondina and presumptive Rookie of the Year Laure dominated all of their opponents, merging for 29 spikes.
For reference, Ateneo, as a team, only mustered 24 attack points.
That domination by the dynamic duo has brought the Golden Tigresses at the doorstep of their first title since 2010.
The 2007 championship before their last title in Season 72 was also delivered by a dynamic duo in MVP Venus Bernal and middle blocker Ging Balse, now Balse-Pabayo.
Bernal had already stated that she and Rondina have a thing or two in common.
For her part, Balse went just a little bit further - likening her and Bernal’s dominance to what everybody is seeing right now from Rondina and Laure. "Si Ven, nakikita ko kay Sisi tapos ako, nakikita ko kay Eya. Nung time kasi na yun, injured din ang tuhod ko," she shared.
She then continued, "Nakikita mo sa kanya na pinu-push pa rin niya kahit na masakit na ang tuhod niya, lumalaban pa rin siya para sa team."
Of course, the comparisons are better streamlined for Rondina and Bernal - both MVPs and both open hitters.
While Balse is a middle blocker and Laure is an open hitter, though, both indeed put out the same sort of fight that makes Espana proud.
And while she sees a little bit of herself in UST's new super rookie, the now 35-year-old also has words for their small, but terrible heart and soul. "Team captain din ako nung nag-champion kami so nafi-feel ko yung galaw ni Sisi, yung energy ni Sisi ngayon. Makikita mo sa aura niya na mananalo kami," she shared.
She then continued, "Kaya sabi ko nga kay Sisi, dalhin mo yung team dahil malaki ang tiwala namin sa'yo as team captain. Kahit konting mali mo lang, bawi kaagad tapos pag may teammate kang nawala sa game, suportahan mo lang siya."
Come Game 2 on Wednesday at MOA Arena, expect Balse, Bernal, and the rest of the Golden Tigresses' most recent champions to be right there in the venue to show their support once more. "Game 2, manonood kami," their then-skipper said.
And then, Balse only wants the current crop of Espana volleybelles to keep at it. "Tuloy-tuloy lang nila. Kung ano yung galaw nila ngayon, yung energy ngayon, kung paano sila natulog at nagising, ituloy lang nila kung saan sila nanalo," she said.
She then continued, "Tiwala lang."
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