UAAP: Vanie Gandler, Faith Nisperos help Ateneo snap skid
MANILA, Philippines—Vanie Gandler and Faith Nisperos delivered as Ateneo ended a four-game skid with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-22 victory over struggling University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday at Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Gandler shone with 17 points built on 13 attacks, two blocks, and two aces to stop the Blue Eagles’ woes and end the first round with just their second win in seven games.
“Of course, it’s been a frustrating first round so it feels great to finally get another win,” said Gandler shortly after the game. “Hopefully, we can use this as momentum coming into the second round. The fight is not over so we’re just gonna keep going.”
Nisperos also starred with 14 points, including the clutch attacks in the third set as Ateneo placed sixth in the first round.
“Coach told us that we have to end strong and that’s what we wanted to do and today I really appreciate my teammates and the whole team because we all became good teammates,” said Nisperos, who scored 12 attacks and two aces on top of five digs.
UP threatened to extend the match as Alyssa Bertolano tied the count at 19-all in the third set. Gandler and Nisperos joined hands to reach matchpoint, 24-21, before the former committed a service error. Nisperos closed out the game with an off-the-block kill.
AC Miner chipped in seven points, Joan Narit and Lyann De Guzman added five markers each, and Taks Fujimoto dished out 12 excellent sets on top of three points.
Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro hopes this is the start of their rise after a string of losses.
“I thank the players for accepting the challenge. I challenged them to take pride and have a strong character in this game. No matter whoever we face,” Almadro said. “We missed this feeling and as I told them this morning: Today will be the start of something for tomorrow.”
UP suffered its fourth straight loss, sliding to a 1-5 record before wrapping up the first round against Adamson on Wednesday.
Jewel Encarnacion was the lone bright spot for the Fighting Maroons with 11 points, nine digs, and nine receptions, while Nina Ytang had four blocks to finish with seven markers.