Sisi Rondina relishes teaming up with familiar names at Choco Mucho
MANILA, Philippines — Sisi Rondina felt like she was joining the “Redeem Team” as she teams up with her former UAAP rivals at the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.
In joining her first professional team after a four year absence in the indoor circruit, Rondina was reminded of one of her favorite sports teams–the 2008 Team USA of the late Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony– which brought back the glory to their country with Olympic gold in Beijing, China.
Rondina is set to play with former UAAP standouts like Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Deanna Wong, who led Ateneo in beating her and the University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 81 Finals in 2019, as well as fellow wing spikers Isa Molde and Des Cheng.
“Nung pagkapasok ko, sinabi ko kaagad parang ‘Redeem team’ ang tingin ko kasi lahat ng mga captains nung UAAP mostly nasa team namin,” the 5-foot-6 outside hitter, who was officially announced as the newest member of the team on Saturday, told Inquirer Sports.
“Masaya ako sa bagong team ko ngayon kasi lahat kasi kakilala ko and hindi na ganun ka hirap mag-adjust kasi in terms of bonding,” she added.
When I joined the team, I thought about the ‘Redeem team’ because most of the captains in the UAAP are in our team…I’m happy with my new team because I know all of my teammates and so it’s not that hard to adjust in terms of bonding.)
Rondina is making her debut in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League Invitational Conference starting June 29.
Choco Mucho is also seeking redemption after missing the semifinals in the past three PVL tournaments, placing seventh in coach Dante Alinsunurin’s debut in the All-Filipino Conference after only winning two of their eight matches.
But the Philippine women’s beach volleyball team star is not promising anything yet upon her arrival to the Flying Titans, who haven’t reached the PVL podium since joining the league four years ago.
Rondina’s focus right now is working on her chemistry with her new teammates and adapting to Alinsunurin’s system coming from a long hiatus from indoor volleyball.
“We need to focus step by step sa process and sa improvement ng team na mabibitbit namin sa mga liga,” said the two-time Southeast Asian Games beach volleyball bronze medalist. “Sa ngayon, nagtitiwala kami sa mga pinapagawa ng mga coaches namin. Pipilitin naming ma-adapt, lalo na ako, sa programa ni coach Dante.”
(We need to focus on the process, step by step, and the improvement that we can bring to the team. Right now, we’re trusting what the coaches are asking us to do. We will adapt especially me to coach Dante’s program.)
The high-flying Cebuana hitter admitted she is having a hard time going back to indoor volleyball after spending the past three years in beach volleyball. But she believes that she is on the right track.
“Hirap ako sa transition ko but getting there. Basta mag tatrabaho at walang reklamo,” Rondina said.
(I’m happy a hard time with my transition, but getting there. I will work hard without complaints.)
The 26-year-old spiker, who last saw action in club volleyball with Petron four years ago, also played tremendously in indoor as she had a historic final playing year in the UAAP, emerging as the Season 81 MVP and leading the UST to the finals alongside Eya Laure before settling for silver.
All eyes are on the much-anticipated pro debut of Rondina but expect her to show the same resilient attitude as she finally makes her much-anticipated indoor comeback.
“Expected ko sa pro, same lang din dati mag-tatrabaho at mag-contribute sa team namin,” she said.
(My expectations on being the pro is the same, I will just work and contribute to our team.)