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Sisi Rondina praises Deanna Wong and teammates for crucial win

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MANILA, Philippines — Sisi Rondina is proving time and again how she is living up to the expectations of her arrival at the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.

But she refuses to take credit for the Flying Titans’ success, deflecting the praise to the team’s setter Deanna Wong and the rest of her team.

Rondina was the game changer once again for her team, towing Choco Mucho to the semifinals of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) with her 20-point and 20-reception performance, but she praised Wong for her resiliency and great leadership.

“Hands down to Deanna. She tripped earlier, got hit by the ball, her knee was hurting but she was able to play on. That gave me a boost because I was thinking I need to work harder,” Rondina said in Filipino.

Rondina and Wong led the Flyung Titans to an emotional 25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-12 win over PLDT that extended their winning streak to eight games and ended their semifinals drought after more than a year.

The high-flying power hitter couldn’t believe how they pulled off their come-from-behind win after falling to a 0-5 deficit in the fifth set. But it was her fellow Cebuano Wong who kept her in the pressure-packed game en route to 24 excellent sets to go with three points including two aces.

“I don’t know how we did it, but I saw everyone’s eagerness to win. PLDT really tested our patience, especially someone like me who has a temper,” Rondina said. “But I heard Deanna telling me, ‘Tara na day, angkinin mo na yung likod (Let’s go, girl. Dominate from the backrow).’”

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Deanna Wong sets up a hit for Maddie Madayag. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Rondina, the former UAAP Most Valuable Player out of University of Santo Tomas, also lauded Maddie Madayag, who played her heart out with 18 points including the game-winning block that brought Choco Mucho back to the semis for the first time since last year’s Open Conference.

“I’m thankful for Maddie. Because even when I was in the backrow, they were helping me out from the front. We all wanted to win today. We went here not wanting to lose,” Rondina said.

“We work as a team and we work as teammates. Maddie and I are both alpha players, we clash sometimes but we give and take. We work hard and we try to play the right way,” she added.

Rondina’s addition to Choco Mucho may have taken the squad to a higher level but she attributes their recent success to their teamwork and eagerness of the Flying Titans to reach the top under the system of decorated men’s volleyball coach Dante Alinsunurin, who is starting to make his mark in the women’s division in the PVL.

“Personally, I can’t say it was because of me. I think it’s the players. Their mindset is to raise the team and advance,” Rondina said. “It’s exhausting, but that’s a good thing because it’s giving us a good outcome. I’m thankful because we all fought and didn’t give up.

“But you know me, if someone gives me an opportunity, I give it my all. I show how much I love it and how important the job is to me. I’m grateful for this team because coach Dante gave us a good welcome and hopefully it continues in the semifinals.”