CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cherry Ann “Sisi” Rondina just made Team Maria a heavy title contender as she leads the erstwhile struggling squad to a rousing two sets win over the heavily favored Habor Pilot Lady Deckers in their elimination encounter Tuesday evening, Jan. 7, in the ongoing 2020 Mayor Edgardo C. Labella Volleyball Cup Women’s Division competition at the Cebu City Sports Institute in Sawang Calero.
Rondina almost single-handedly carried Team Maria to a 2-0 win over the Lady Deckers who came into the game looking to pocket its second win.
However, Rondina who was appeared to be just one of the spectators, suited up and lead Team Maria’s to a rousing 25-21; 26-24 win over Harbor Pilot which is starred by middle blocker/spiker Maria Abegail Praca, who also had her fair share of national exposure.
Prior to the game, Rondina who had won four UAAP Beach Volleyball MVP titles and one indoor volleyball MVP plum for the University of Santo Tomas gave peep talk to the competition before showing beast performance in the game.
Rondina showed her on-court hustles – dive for the ball rallied her teammates and displayed what she does best – hammered powerful spikes that in most times unstoppable.
On every kill, the crowd roared in approval, which only added much gusto to Rondina’s performance including the last three kills on the second set that pulled Team Maria from a 24-22 deficit to a 26-24 victory.
The win improved Team Maria’s card to 1-1 win-loss to create a quadruple tie with Harbor Pilot, University of Cebu Lady Webmasters and Southwestern University-Phinma.
The University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Lady Panthers took the early lead after scoring its second win following a 2-0; 25-14, 25-17; win over UC in the earlier game.
SWU-Phinma, on the other hand, picked its first win following an exhausting 2-1 win over J&J Enterprise in the opening match.
The youthful J&J showed resistance as they won the opening set 32-30. However, the Lady Cobras bounced back and won the next and the deciding sets 25-20 and 25-9.
In the Men’s competition, Fiesta People/Cebu Institute of Technology-University picked its second win following a 2-0 victory over the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Panthers.
This time coach Armel Loon rallied his team to make sure of picking a straight-sets win by using a tall frontcourt defense and to neutralize the attacks of the Panthers.
With Dan Adrian Garnica and Jason Kent Imperial leading the Panthers early in the opening set, Fiesta People shifted to a tall order defense behind John Mark Pacquiao, John Paul Lumen and Vincent Dumali at the front line that proved to be the right combination as the Spiking Wildcats won the opening set 25-22.
With the unstoppable trio at the front, Fiesta People went to finish the job with a 25-15 win in the second set.
Meanwhile, team Mischka and Sports Yu scored a win each in the opening day.
Mischka defeated USPF Panthers 25-22; 25-22 while Sports Yu toppled the University of Cebu Webmasters 25-19; 25-19.
The actions continue this afternoon, Wednesday, Jan. 8, with J&J playing USPF at 4 PM and will be followed by SWU against Team Maria’s and UC against Harbor Pilot in the Women’s competition and Sports Yu vs. USPF, Fiesta People vs. Mischka and UC vs. SWU in the Men’s elimination round. /RCM