UAAP Final Four: UST Tigresses go where Cherry Rondina takes them
MANILA, Philippines—The hardest working player across the board has got some choice words for her University of Santo Tomas teammates: “Are you with me?”
After drilling in 21 points in UST’s impressive win over Far Eastern University (25-23, 25-18, 25-23), the 22-year-old Cebuana said she wanted the Tigresses to reach new heights.
On her last playing year, the many-time beach volleyball MVP said it’s not enough that UST made the Final Four — its first in three seasons. It’s about time the Tigresses finally embody their newest battle cry: #KamiNaman.
“My dream is to reach the championship,” said Rondina in Filipino. “So we need to have that mindset. I want to tell the new players, ‘Are you with me?’”
There is no doubt Rondina wanted it more, she was the top scorer in the UAAP women’s volleyball after first round with 17.4 points per game, followed by her rookie teammate Eya Laure (16.7).
But individual milestone is no longer Rondina’s concern at the moment because “what I want right now is the big trophy.”
UST last won the championship in Season 72 when it swept the men’s and women’s crown. Now after staying in the shadows of Ateneo and La Salle the last decade, the Tigresses are once again in the championship conversation.
Despite losing heavy scoring sophomore Milena Alessandrini early in the season, UST has evolved into a formidable unit hinged on Rondina and rookies like Laure, MaFe Galanza, Ysa Jimenez, Janel Delerio and KC Galdones.
“Nothing is impossible if you go all out and do the handwork,” said Rondina.
Presently lodged at 3rd spot, UST can even take the No. 2 spot and the twice-to-beat privilege that comes with it. That’s if it wins its last game, against National University, and La Salle loses both its remaining two matches.
At any rate, it’s not going to be a walk in the park for the Tigresses on their way to promise land.
And Rondina is very much aware of it, saying that if all else fails, “I hope they give me a good exit.”
Your weekly sports analysis
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.