The Future of UST Beach Volleyball Blove Barbon and Jaron Requinton
Danine Cruz on Oct 08, 2018 02:54 PM
Great players graduate, promising rookies emerge.
University of Santo Tomas fielded a super senior-rookie tandem both in the women’s and men’s divisions of the UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball Tournament. That decision led to two championships, two MVPs, and two Rookies of the Year.
Newbie Blove Barbon partnered up with the graduating Sisi Rondina, who played her fifth and final year on the sands. The rookie was nothing but honored to have partnered up with arguably the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time) of Philippine beach volleyball in her first year playing the sport.
She expressed that she was up to the challenge of teaming up with a player as intense as Rondina – an athlete who expects every teammate to go as hard as her.
“Tinake ko lang po sya as a motivation kasi yun po yung way ni Ate Si na parang [gumaling] po yung sarili natin. ‘Di naman lahat ng naka-partner ni Ate Si, tumagal sa kanya. Pero para po sa akin, yun po yung ginawa kong motivation para lumaban ng lumaban,” she said after being awarded the Season 81 Rookie of the Year.
The bubbly yet shy girl from Bukidnon showed immense improvement from Day 1 to the Finals. Seven game days after, her initial careless errors in the eliminations transformed to mature and smart ball placing.
Barbon can’t help but feel regretful that this was her first and last time to play with Rondina. If she were to choose, she would partner with her over and over again.
“Syempre, sino ba namang hindi gusto maging ka-partner si Ate Sisi. Diba? Nakita naman natin yung laro niya, di basta basta, siya po yung [pinakamagaling] sa beach volley,” she said with a giddy smile.
“Halo halong saya po saka lungkot kasi yun nga po yun na yung last playing year ni Ate Si so next year iba na po makakapartner ko,” she said as she reflected on helping Rondina get the good exit she wanted.
As for Rondina, she expressed confidence on leaving UST’s beach volleyball program, an arena she loved so much, to her young yet promising Padawan.
“Si Babylove naman sinasabi ko sa kaniya na for her to get these awards, ang naging sangkap sa mga ganito is hard work. Commit kung saan ka naka-commit, wag kang masilaw sa pagiging sikat,” said Rondina.
“May potential talaga siya. Sana madala niya 'yung attitude ko towards the game and towards training,” added the four-time MVP.
Barbon is shy and still not accustomed to the attention one receives after a championship and a Rookie of the Year award. When reporters got a hold of her, she even joked around asking if someone else can substitute for her.
“Pwede bang sub? Sub?” she quipped.
With Rondina graduating, Barbon is left with the responsibility of preserving the elite status of UST in beach volleyball. When asked about it, Barbon has this to say.
“Sobrang bigat po kasi lahat po kasi baguhan eh. Wala na pong senior na magdadala sa amin. Pero try po namin kung ano yung ginagawa ni Ate Si ngayon,” she said.
“Gagawin namin para sa school,” the rookie said.
Saying that she will do everything for UST, a sentiment Rondina has always preached, just goes to show that aside from volleyball smarts, she also picked up a rhetoric of her Ate.
As for the men’s division, it was Jaron Requinton who had the honor of learning from veteran Krung Arbasto. Just like the women’s, the super senior-rookie tandem brought UST another gold.
Requinton’s court presence is beyond his years. For most of the season, opponents always avoid letting the much more experienced Arbasto get the kill. With that, the spiking burden has been mostly on the young Requinton but the rookie was up to the challenge. He held a solid account of himself drilling down balls and blocking attacks as if this was not his first time in the UAAP.
To make things more entertaining, he paired his volleyball skills with spunky antics on the sands. This is why no one was surprised when his name was called as the Season 81 Rookie of the Year.
“Ito po siguro yung araw na di ko malilimutan as rookie kasi kahit natalo po kami sa eliminations ng FEU, natalo naman po namin sila sa championships. Goal ko po yun. Super salamat po talaga,” said Requinton.
In contrast to Barbon’s timidity, Requinton has a confident aura around him. Whether he is playing on the sands or talking to reporters, he always seems to show no hint of intimidation.
In his first rivalry game during the eliminations against National University, the lone rookie on the court joined the veterans in the tongue wagging and the arm flexing. Requinton showed all season long that he may be young but he is the real deal.
“Siguro po yung hugot ko lang po [para sa confidence ko] ay sa hard training po namin, sa mga pinagdaanan po namin, sa struggles, sa away-bati,” he explained.
In the end, just like Barbon, he was able to roll out the red carpet for Arbasto as he exited UAAP beach volleyball.
“Sobrang saya po kasi graduating po si Kuya Krung tapos nabigyan ko po siya ng magandang exit sa beach volley po,” Requinton expressed.
Aside from bringing the trophy back to Espana, the rookie is also now responsible of continuing the steady stride of UST’s beach volleyball program. Arbasto expressed full confidence on his apprentice.
“Si Jaron, matibay siya. May dedication talaga sya sa beach volley na buong puso naglalaro. Di bumibitaw sa kahit ano mang laban,” said Arbasto who was hailed as the Season 81 MVP.
“Kahit na pinapagalitan ko yan, wala, tiyaga pa rin siya,” he added.
When asked about the passing of the torch, Requinton embraces the responsibility with open arms.
“Ireready ko po sarili ko kasi ayoko po magulat so ready lang po, kasi marami naman po kami. Di ko rin po alam mangyayari sa akin,” he said.
This is the inevitable progression of college sports. When great players graduate, programs scramble trying to look for someone to replace them.
But as for UST, they can breathe easily knowing that their beach volleyball program is now in the good and promising hands of Barbon and Requinton.