UAAP Season 81 Finals: Sisi Rondina's love for volleyball comes from her parents

Mark Escarlote on May 18, 2019 03:38 AM
Sisi Rondina's love for volleyball comes from her parents
Nag-mana siya sa aming dalawa ng Papa niya -- Sisi Rondina's mother Alona

Fate has its own unique way of leading one to path of success.

And Sisi Rondina’s journey to Philippine volleyball fame is no exception.

At a young age, the University of Sto. Tomas star wanted to compete in a different sport but circumstances ‘forced’ her to volleyball.

“Sabi niya gusto niya track and field pero alam niya noon na wala kaming pambili (ng sapatos) kaya sabi niya sige volleyball na lang siya,” said Sisi’s father, Arnold, a school bus driver.

The graduating Tigresses captain grew up active in sports especially in volleyball, a passion that her parents share.  

“Nag-mana siya sa aming dalawa ng Papa niya,” said Sisi’s mother, Alona.

“High school pa lang ako volleyball player din ako, libero ako,” added Mrs. Rondina, who had to seek greener pastures in Brunei for 14 years to support her family of six. “Hindi ako pareho ni Sisi na lumilipad. Sa high school lang ako, hindi na ako nag-college dahil sa kahirapan.”

Sisi’s parents worked hard to make both ends meet and give their children a better future.

But life is hard in Compostela, Cebu.   

Sisi knows that the only escape from the burden of poverty is education.

UST gave her that through volleyball.

At 5-foot-6, Sisi stands tall in both the UAAP beach volleyball and indoor volleyball as a Tigress.

Sisi, who was recruited by then women’s head coach Odjie Mamon, in her first year won the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and the Season 77 title in beach volleyball.

She would eventually won three more beach volleyball crowns and three MVPs.

And for the first time in eight years, Sisi on her swan song led the Tigresses to their first championship stint.

Her heroics in the best-of-three series opener helped UST sweep the highly-touted Ateneo de Manila University.

“Masayang, masaya, sobrang saya. Hindi ko mapigilan ang emotion ko. Parang naiiyak ako sa [tuwa], naabot niya ito,” said the 46-year-old Arnold Rondina, who was able to watch his daughter play for the first time with Alona and their other children Christina, Karen and Criselda courtesy of the generosity of the UST community which shouldered their airfare and accommodation expenses.  

Sisi received her indoor Season MVP award last Wednesday before Game 2 of the Finals with her family beside her.

Unfortunately, the Tigresses faile to finish of the serirs that day as the Lady Eagles equalized in Game 2 that forced a winner-take-all decider on Saturday.



Looking back, Mr. Rondina, admitted that he was a bit skeptical about Sisi’s future in volleyball.

“Oo noon. Sana hindi ko na lang pinigilan kasi akala ko ano eh, maliit lang siya. Tapos akala ko hindi [niya kaya] pero ganyan pala siya [kagaling],” he said. 

Sisi proved that her heart and passion for volleyball is bigger that her height.  

“Syempre masayang-masaya tapos hindi ko talaga expect na ganyan na matutuloy ang pangarap niya. Kaya sobrang-sobrang hanga ako sa kanya,” said the proud patriarch. 

Sisi also embraced her responsibility as a breadwinner after her mother returned to the country. She made sure that her earnings from playing in club volleyball and beach volleyball tournaments will be put to good use.

The 22-year old hitter was able to buy a 2-storey house in their hometown.   

“Totoo ‘yun eh kasi ‘yung bahay namin nipa hut lang ang bubong tapos kapag umuulan tumutulo,” said her father.

“Sabi niya, ‘Pa, nasa Manila na ako makakabili na tayo ng bahay, mapapalitan na natin ‘yung [bahay natin], hindi na kayo matuluan ng tubig ng ulan’,” Arnold recalled.

Sisi has a bright future ahead of her and the blessings she received came from her hard work, dedication and love for her family.

Traits instilled to her by her parents.



Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

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