Sisi Rondina finds a way to deliver vs taller Australia

SCHEDULE: Alas Pilipinas at the AVC Challenge Cup 2024

Alas Pilipinas’ Sisi Rondina rises for a hit against Australia in a AVC Challenge Cup game 2024. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines —  Sisi Rondina stood tall on her Alas Pilipinas debut, towing the Philippines past the much taller Australia, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21,  in the AVC Challenge Cup  Thursday evening at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

The 5-foot-6 outside spiker delivered 16 points built on 15 attacks and an ace to outplay the Australians, who boast an average height of 5-foot-11.

“I just showed what I was capable of. If we don’t have any advantage in size, then we can use our speed and wits,” said Rondina in Filipino after the Philippines’ successful Pool A debut before an energetic crowd of 4,945 fans.

READ: AVC Cup: Alas Pilipinas beats taller Australia to kick off bid

Her solid indoor national team debut was unexpected for Rondina, who has been a thorn in the side of Australia since she led Choco Mucho to a straight-set win over the same squad in the VTV Cup in Vietnam last year.

“Knowing Australia, we know they have the height but I’m grateful that [my team] gave me trust so I worked hard,” she said.

“Australia has some new players and the team now is stronger compared to the VTV Cup’s. [Caitlin] Tipping is even stronger now, so all I had in my mind was how to get the ball across.”

READ: Former UST stars Eya Laure, Sisi Rondina reunite at Alas Pilipinas

Rondina, who played for the Philippine beach volleyball team from 2019 to 2023 and won two Southeast Asian Games bronze medals, said her transition wasn’t hard since she’s been playing in the PVL since last year and led Choco Mucho to back-to-back All-Filipino Conference Finals.

“It’s the same feeling I had when we also hosted beach volleyball. I’m happy there were so many fans watching. Seeing them boosts our morale,” said the 2023 PVL second All-Filipino MVP.

Rondina, a former UAAP MVP from the University of Santo Tomas, vows to continue working hard for the country as they battle India on Friday at 7 p.m.

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