UAAP: Faith Nisperos’ net defense boosts Ateneo victory
MANILA, Philippines—Faith Nisperos hosted Ateneo’s block party as she unleashed five of her team’s season-high 14 blocks to turn back University of the East and earn their first winning streak of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at Philsports Arena.
Blocking hasn’t been the Blue Eagles’ strong suit after they finished seventh in the league in that department in the first round averaging 1.42 blocks per set for a total of 34 through seven games.
Desperate for more wins, Ateneo came out with a better net defense to open the second round on a high note and improve to a 3-5 record.
“I keep telling Faith she has to include that skill. I told her [blocking] is what she needs to improve so far. Even Joan [they have to be] more aggressive in the net,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro in Filipino. “We have to improve on that because, in the past round, we were not aggressive. What we practice now is to be aggressive. If we can’t defend at the back, at least we challenge them at the net.”
Nisperos, who finished with 18 points, stressed that every win matters in the second round but they still have to focus on their team’s progress.
“The second round is every win matters but what matters more is our performance as a team and how much our desire to win, to get that win for this second round and starting on a high note,” she said. “I think it’s the product of everyday learning and training. And of course, in every training, our coaches challenge us to push hard and reach our limits.”
Almadro hopes the Blue Eagles will sustain their blocking as they battle the Adamson Lady Falcons on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.