UAAP: Focusing on role, Faith Nisperos helps Ateneo get on track
MANILA, Philippines — Faith Nisperos was emotional when the defending champion Ateneo fell to a 0-3 record at the hands of Adamson last Tuesday in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
Two days after, Nisperos and the Blue Eagles finally showed what they are capable of as they dominated Far Eastern University, 25-16, 25-14, 25-14 victory, to barge into the win column and end a three-game skid at Mall of Asia Arena.
“After that Adamson game, I had a bad game. Of course, I thought of my teammates. I felt I let them down and I used that loss as a motivation,” said Nisperos after leading Ateneo’s balanced attack with 14 points off 11 spikes, two aces and a block
“I wanted to step up, I wanted to contribute to the team. I focused on my role today. And doing that, we won by collective effort,” she added.
The sophomore spiker admitted that the Blue Eagles had a heart-to-heart talk after Adamson ended Ateneo’s 14-game winning streak in their head-to-head.
“Going into the game, we talked to each other and instilled a mindset of not to focus on winning, but to do good first and do our roles,” she shared. “And it really showed today in our game to finally get the win.
Although Ateneo finally ended its slump, its 1-3 record was the team’s worst start since Season 73 in 2011. But the Katipunan-based spikers, who were then led by Fille Cainglet, Dzi Gervacio, A Nacachi, Jem Ferrer and Gretchen Ho, still reached the Final Four.
Coach Oliver Almadro remains patient with the young Blue Eagles’ progress with only four players left from their Season 81 championship namely Dani Ravena, Vanie Gandler, Jaja Maraguinot and substitute Erika Raagas
“Majority of them haven’t played in the UAAP. So I challenged Vannie, Faith, and Jaja na to step up. This is the first time for Vanie and Jaja to start. This is Faith’s first full season,” said Almadro. “We will take it one game at a time and keep on improving every day. Slowly we will get it. They responded right away. You can’t pressure them into winning right away because we only had a short preparation.”
Almadro hopes to use their first win as a springboard in their last three games in the first round starting on Saturday against University of the Philippines.