Rondina exits FIVB with lessons from new partner Gervacio
Whenever Cherry Rondina played in the sand courts outside of the UAAP, she always had her buddy Bernadeth Pons as her trusted partner.
That partnership of Rondina and Pons has resulted in success, with the two winning the 2017 Philippine SuperLiga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup with Petron and representing the Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Singapore.
Yet in the biggest sand tournament of Rondina’s young career, she didn’t have her trusty partner with her but she still got a solid ally in the more experienced Dzi Gervacio for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open.
Although they started practicing just two weeks before the May 3 tournament, their new familiarity with each other allowed them to reach the quarterfinals—the only Filipino team in the one-star event to do so.
The stint with the 26-year-old Gervacio became a learning opportunity for UAAP’s star hitter, not just about skills but also about leadership.
“Although we fell short, I’ve learned so much from her like her grit and resiliency, her leadership, and how she carries herself as a senior,” said Rondina of Gervacio, who is five years her senior.
Rondina and Gervacio scored an upset win over the United States’ Lindsey Fuller and Kaley Melville in the group stage, 21-12, 21-16, and another stunner against Canada’s Megan Nagy and Caleigh Cruickshank, 21-17, 21-17, in the Round of 12.
Their Cinderella run, however, came to a halt after a bitter three-set loss to Japanese four-star veterans Shinako Tanaka and Sakurako Fujii, 21-13, 17-21, 15-11, in the quarterfinals.
Rondina said Gervacio never made their age difference an issue.
“She told me that we will respect each other on the court, no one will be treated like an ‘ate’ or a baby because we’re both individuals who can play,” said Rondina. “Although we failed to advance, I’ve learned so much in our time together and in the games we played in the FIVB World Tour.”