Rondina's leadership to be tested this season
Mark Escarlote on Jan 29, 2017 05:55 PM
Can Cherry Rondina lead University of Sto. Tomas this season?
Cherry Rondina came close to winning an individual award last year in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament with her explosive scoring prowess.
It was the main role of the incoming University of Sto. Tomas third year hitter for the Tigresses.
But come Season 79, the Cebuana spitfire will have an even bigger part to play for UST, which is in the hunt to end years of being in the lower half of the field.
Rondina will be leading the Kungfu Reyes-mentored squad as team captain even after the return of former skipper Pam Lastimosa, who was sidelined last year by a knee injury.
Even with an added task, Rondina said that she is taking the game with the same approach as last season.
“Nagbago? Wala, wala naman po. Walang nagbago,” said Rondina. “Same pa rin, kung ano ‘yung last year, same pa rin, walang nagbago talaga.”
Only this time she has to keep the team together in the battles ahead.
“Siguro, ‘yung sa ilalim lang siguro ng jersey ko, may linya. Ayun lang,” she added. “Responsibility ko po ‘yun (as team captain), the way, kung ano 'yung captain na mag-act, siguro ‘yun po. To be a leader, to motivate them and encourage them. Lahat na ng mga positive.”
Her appointment came as a surprise when everyone expected Lastimosa to take the position on her fifth and last year.
“Never po. Never (ko in-expect). Kasi noong pagkabigay ni coach, (nagulat ako),” said Rondina, who gave UST its first gold medal of the season with her triumph in women’s beach volleyball – her second in three years. “Pero sabi naman ni coach, ‘pag nasa laro kami, ikaw team captain, pero pag nasa labas kami, siyempre may mga senior kami, so sila pa rin ang magli-lead sa amin.”
The Tigresses are out to end a Final Four drought. The Espana-based squad last set foot in the semifinals back in Season 74.
UST is considered as one of the title contenders this year with an almost intact lineup and an extensive build up for the season including a training stint in Thailand.
However, Rondina said that they are managing their expectations and are taking everything one game at a time.
“For me po, I mean, sasabihin ko na lang na ayoko marinig 'yung mga expectations,” she said. “Basta, ang sa amin lang po is we will work hard. Ilalaro namin kung ano 'yung mga natutunan namin, mga na-gain naming experience.”
Rondina’s leadership will get an acid test on February 4 against Season 78 runner up Ateneo de Manila.
Catch the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament starting February 4, Saturday live on S+A, S+A HD channel 166 and via livestream.
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