MANILA, Philippines — Faith Nisperos and the Ateneo Blue Eagles is staying patient with their team progress after starting off on the wrong foot in their title-retention bid in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
Nisperos’ 24-point explosion and Ateneo’s first set victory were not enough after falling to rival La Salle, 25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 20-25, on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The prolific spiker admitted they are still adjusting in their first UAAP game after two years and starting life without their seniors Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte and Jho Maraguinot, who all turned pro in the Premier Volleyball League.
“We have to learn from this game, and of course, we have to be patient with each other because it’s been awhile since we last played,”said Nisperos after the loss. “We have to do things one at a time. We also have to move on, and prepare for our next game.”
Team captain Dani Ravena also said they have to temper their expectations with their retooled roster.
“Everyone’s new here, not just us but also the other teams, so it’s hard to have really-really high expectations, but then again I know our team really did their best, we fell short,” said the libero, who protected Ateneo’s floor against La Salle. “It’s our first game, we’re gonna learn from it. We can’t rush things even if we wanted to win. But if you do it in a rushed manner, we also won’t get our goal.”
“One game at a time, one point at a time, and then with our hard work and our perseverance, I know we’ll get to our goal,” Ravena added.
Despite the loss, Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro was happy to see Nisperos taking charge with 19 spikes, three aces and two blocks.
“I really want a higher standard for Faith. But with what she showed today, I know that she will be better in the next games. She just have to be consistent. (Her) point doesn’t matter, what’s more important is the totality of her game,” Almadro said. “Faith is a very talented player. At this point in time, we rely on her now. Unlike before she has Kat Tolentino, Ponggay, Jules and Jho on her side.”
The Nazareth School standout, who saw her rookie year cut short by the pandemic two years ago, said that embracing her sudden bigger role as a sophomore leader is not hard with the help of her teammates.
“As coach O always said, I always have to do my role right and I don’t have to be perfect. I have my teammates to help me. We just have to do our roles,“ she said.
Nisperos will face her former high school teammates, led by Ivy Lacsina and Jennifer Nierva, when Ateneo tries to bounce back against the opening day winner National University on Saturday.
“I don’t need to overthink. I have to prepare my game as well. Regardless of who is our opponent, we have to prepare as a team,” she said.
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