Even the non-Thomasians are celebrating with the University of Santo Tomas community after sensational players Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure have been determined as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Rookie of the Year (ROY), respectively, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The announcement came with no contention because the stats sheets have proven nothing but the fact that they rightfully deserve the recognition. Furthermore, the same figures have sealed their appearance in the finals after eight long years.
UST’s return is a major comeback, after placing seventh in standing in Season 80—arguably their worst record in recent history.
For the graduating open spiker of the Tigresses, it’s always been a consensus that she deserves nothing but a graceful exit—and that’s exactly what Rondina is getting. After averaging 17.7 points per game with a 33.38 spiking percentage per set, another MVP plum is set to be added to her collection of four, along with four beach volleyball titles.
As if these accolades are not impressive enough, Rondina’s recent feat has made her more than just a winner; she is a history maker, too. Rondina is only the second player to have won both the indoor and beach volleyball MVP (October 2018) awards in the same season. The first record was held by Wendy Semana of Far Easter University in Season 70 (2008).
This is also Rondina’s first indoor MVP award, and the first from UST since Venus Bernal in Season 69.
Moreover, the five-foot-six star athlete wins the second Best Open Spiker and her second consecutive Best Scorer award, with a total of 259 points in the elimination round.
While the Queen Tigress has indubitably played the major role in securing their ticket to the finals, UST has banked not only on its seasoned veterans, but also on its prized recruits. And among their standouts—and even the entire league—is opposite hitter Eya Laure.
It came as no surprise when Laure emerged as the Rookie of the Year, an award that UST has always been inclined to clinch. Only last year, then rookie and now injured player Milena Alessandrini was awarded the same citation. And in Season 77 (2015), Eya’s sister, EJ, won it, too.
Laure has also bested Rondina as the first Best Open Spiker, who averaged 16.4 points per outing and a 35.90 percent efficiency. This 20-year-old rookie is also 29 points away from her Cebuana senior in scoring with 230 points, the second highest.
UST last won the championship in Season 72 (2010). Now, the Golden Tigresses are all geared up to fight tooth and nail against equally driven Ateneo Lady Eagles, who are also making a Finals comeback after having missed it last season.
The best-of-three battle begins on Saturday, May 11, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The awarding ceremony is scheduled before the second game on Wednesday next week, May 15, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Here are the other individual awardees:
- Most Valuable Spiker – Sisi Rondina (UST)
- 1st Best Open Spiker – Eya Laure (UST)
- 2nd Best Open Spiker – Sisi Rondina (UST)
- 1st Best Middle Blocker – Roselyn Doria (NU)
- 2nd Best Middle Blocker – Maddie Madayag (ADMU)
- Best Opposite Spiker – Kat Tolentino (ADMU)
- Best Setter – Laizah Bendong (UE)
- Best Libero – Kath Arado (UE)
- Best Scorer – Sisi Rondina (UST)
- Best Server – Princess Robles (NU)
- Rookie of the Year – Eya Laure (UST)
Photos in the featured image are from MANILA BULLETIN Sports, as edited by Roc Verdera.
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