Even with her stature as one the best volleyball stars in the country, legendary spiker Manilla Santos-Ng knows how to appreciate great talent.
In fact, she is an admirer of one of this generation’s brightest standouts.
De La Salle University’s volleyball gem is a self-confessed fan of former University of Sto. Tomas Queen Tigress Sisi Rondina.
“Oh I’ve heard of Sisi Rondina. I’ve seen her play. Actually, idol ko siya,” said the 34-year old spiker, who is making a comeback to competitive volleyball after 10 years.
The four-time UAAP champion sees herself in the diminutive UST spiker back when Santos-Ng was still donning the green and white jersey of DLSU.
Despite standing just 5-foot-4, Santos-Ng dominated the competition during her time as coach Ramil De Jesus’ reliable court leader. Her tenacity, intensity, power and incredible leaping ability coupled by an incredible hang time made her a very dangerous hitter.
Santos-Ng complemented her offense with impeccable floor defense, a skill that earned her three Best Receiver awards during her collegiate stint.
On her last playing year with the Lady Spikers 10 years ago, Santos-Ng earned the Season Most Valuable Player award while leading DLSU back to the throne. As a sign of appreciation for her service, La Salle gave her the distinction of having her no. 14 jersey retired.
A decade after, 5-foot-6 Rondina, who has the same uncanny court skills of Santos-Ng, was named MVP in her swan song. Although Rondina fell short in leading UST back to the throne, she left a legacy similar to that of Santos-Ng.
Rondina’s passion and heart are the things that Santos-Ng admires the most.
“I like the way she plays with heart talaga,” said Santos-Ng, who will march back into battle with the Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference. “She’s also powerful pagdating sa leaping ability.”
Now lacing up her volleyball shoes once again, the woman who inspired others to excel in the sport is looking up to one of the best a decade apart from the time Santos-Ng reigned supreme.
“Parang nakaka-inspire watching her,” she said.
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.