UAAP: Oliver Almadro lauds Ateneo’s character despite crucial loss to Tigresses
MANILA, Philippines — Despite Ateneo’s crucial loss to University of Santo Tomas, coach Oliver Almadro lauded the fighting spirit of Faith Nisperos, who tied her UAAP career-high 31 points, and the rest of the Blue Eagles on Saturday.
Nisperos left everything on the floor with 29 kills and two blocks only for Ateneo to into the brink of Final Four elimination in the Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament after the 22-25, 20-25, 29-27, 21-25 loss.
“From our morning session earlier, coach said that we have to remind ourselves that we are powerful, we have the skills, we have the team, and all we have to do is step up, and display a strong character as a team,” said the Ateneo skipper in Filipino.
“Before the game started, we talked about how we have to show our commitment to give our best because we want to push ourselves. Coming from that commitment, all of us wanted to perform and that’s what we did.”
Almadro praised Nisperos’ scoring prowess and her ability to deliver the finishing touches in the late game as she drilled the clutch attacks to pull off a comeback in the third set.
“I’m happy with the result that Faith is doing, but there’s still more that she has to learn. Even in other pro sports, in the NBA, basketball, even if you make 40 points, what matters is the last shot, the game-winning shot. Michael Jordan did it, Kobe Bryant did it, and they missed a lot. Faith will miss also, but the mere fact that her heart’s there to take that last shot,” said the Ateneo coach in Filipino.
“I guess that’s the character I want to see in my team. No matter what, you give your all and points will come naturally.”
The loss put Ateneo in close danger of missing the Final Four after falling to a 4-7 record, but Almadro chose to give credit to his players who provided solid back-up for Nisperos.
“Faith gave her all and it could not be possible also without the help of her teammates. Her teammates played well also. As you saw Lyann (De Guzman), Eya had a hard time against Lyann. So far, this is now one of the best games Roma (Doromal), Takako (Fujimoto) also,” he said. “We just have to work on some of our lapses in the decision-making. I guess my players connected to each other today.”
“I’m also lacking in the endgame in motivating them to finish it hard. We have to acknowledge it and I have to acknowledge it also. What I acknowledge is my players played their hearts out today, and I’m happy. We just have to put some grit and resilience in every game,” he added.
With their in the Final Four already out of their hands, Nisperos encouraged her teammates to chin up and stay focused on their last three games while hoping National University and Far Eastern University won’t reach eight wins.
“In sports, it’s not always about winning or losing, it’s about how we played. I told them at the end, girls, chin up, because we will keep on fighting. As long as we fight, we’ll never know,” she said. “Nothing will change, same mindset. Coach said that this best game so far. Coming from that, we have to better our best.”
WATCH: Faith Nisperos on matching her UAAP career-high 31 points. #UAAPSeason85 | via Lance Agcaoili/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, April 15, 2023