Dominant Rondina-Pons duo puts premium on respecting foes

Dominant Rondina-Pons duo puts premium on respecting foes

Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons bared that their success hinges on the way they treated their opponents.Philippine Superliga

MANILA, Philippines – Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons are arguably the best beach volleyball players in the country today.

But there’s one crucial thing that sets them apart from being good to great — respect.

Shortly after steering Petron XCS to its second consecutive Philippine Superliga Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup crown Sunday at the Sands By the Bay at Mall of Asia, Rondina and Pons bared that their success hinges on the way they treated their opponents.

“We respect our opponents,” said Rondina, shortly after posting a convincing 21-8, 21-11 victory over Sta. Lucia Realty A of Jackie Estoquia and DM Demontano in the gold-medal match.

“We treat our opponents fairly. Whoever they are. We know that they are also capable of beating us so we have to prepare hard against them.”

True enough, the road to the crown had never been easy for the prized pair.

After a grueling campaign in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), both Pons and Rondina struggled early on against veteran campaigners Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos of Generika-Ayala A, whom they clobbered in a dramatic finals encounter last year.

They went back to the drawing board and came up with a more fluid assault to brush off the Lifesavers in the semifinals and book a finals battle with the Lady Realtors.

In the finals, it was an entirely different story.

Rondina and Pons were obviously prepared as they displayed impressive forms on both ends to hammer an early lead.

The Lady Realtors tried to remain within striking distance in the second set, 10-13, but three consecutive errors doomed their chances, allowing Rondina and Pons to assert their dominance en route to an easy victory.

Still, Rondina and Pons do not believe that they are invincible.

“They are capable of beating us. It just so happened that we did our best preparing for this match,” said Pons.

“We had a tough time winning the title against Generika last year. This year, same thing happened when we faced Sta. Lucia in the finals. Both teams are quick and very smart. That’s why we were at our best because we really wanted to beat them.“

Rondina strongly agreed.

“Yes, we share the same goal, which is to win the crown,” she said. “Our goal of emerging as champion aligned so we really did our best to beat them.”

She added that winning the crown was no incident.

It was a result of hard work, passion, dedication and, yes, respect for their opponents.