UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas volleyball superstar Sisi Rondina and Ateneo swimming stalwart Jessie Khing Lacuna emerged as the Athletes of the Year as as curtains to UAAP Season 81 came to a close Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rondina stood out in the team sports category.
In her final year, Rondina powered the Tigresses to a third straight beach volleyball crown and the fourth overall in five years on top of her fourth season MVP award. In indoors, the Compostela, Cebu native led UST to a runner-up finish in the women’s volleyball tournament and captured the season MVP honors.
Rondina also shone in international play, helping the Philippines in achieving a fifth place finish with Dzi Gervacio in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Manila Open 1-star last year.
“Blessed and di ko rin inexpect na sa akin mapupunta.
Thank you. Siguro, para sa lahat ng teammate ko to. Nakakasurprise talaga siya,” said Rondina after receiving the award.
Rondina was one of the main reasons for the Growling Tigers in winning a record 43rd seniors title championship.
Another graduating student-athlete, Lacuna snared the Athlete of the Year award in the team sports category.
It was Lacuna’s second AOY award, duplicating his feat in 2016 where he shared the league’s highest award with the late Ian Lariba of De La Salle table tennis, Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo women’s volleyball and Queeny Sabobo of Adamson softball.
Lacuna, an Olympian, ended his checked career in the pool with 35 gold medals.
Ateneo swept the Athlete of the Year plums in the juniors division, where basketball sensation Kai Sotto and young tanker Philip Joaquin Santos emerged victorious in the team and individual sports categories.
The UAAP also honored the athlete-scholars who not only excelled in sports but also in academics, with Jed Colonia of Adamson University men’s basketball, Reagan Gavino of Ateneo women’s swimming, Jam Arribas of De La Salle softball,
Josefa Ligmayo of Far Eastern University women’s athletics, Jack Danielle Animam of National University women’s basketball, Allaine Cortey of University of the East women’s fencing, Mae Bernal of UST fencing and Nikki Oliva of University of the Philippines women’s taekwondo receiving honors.
In the juniors division, the Tiger Cubs ruled for the 19th time to complete the general championship twinkill – the third straight season that the España-based student-athletes did the trick.
NU then officially turned over the hosting duties to Ateneo.