With Ateneo in a rebuilding stage after the departure of its three towers, and with the Lady Eagles missing key veterans Deanna Wong and Ponggay Gaston, rookie Faith Nisperos came up big in her first game for the blue and white.
The lefty high school standout from NU announced her arrival by leading Ateneo to a resounding opening day win over Letran in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Collegiate Conference.
Nisperos dropped 19 points in the Lady Eagles’ four-set, 25-16, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20, victory over the Lady Knights last Saturday in Group A of the 12-school field.
Her performance and on-court presence as the leader of the Oliver Alamdro-mentored squad have earned her the nod as the first-ever Sports Vision PVL Collegiate Conference Player of the Week.
The prized recruit hammered down 17 attack points, but what impressed Alamdro the most was Nisperos’ willingness to play the role of a leader with Gaston skipping the reigning UAAP champion’s first game after being under the weather.
“I’m reiterating to her naman kasi na it’s not about the points. Sometimes kasi players tend to have yung misconception na ‘I’m a leader because I make the points’,” said Almadro. “No. I always [tell] them, ‘Don’t put yourselves na kailangan points right away. Importante ay you know what to do, correct what yung kailangan i-correct.’
“What’s nice with Faith is she really listens and tries harder para ma-correct yung details na kino-correct sa kanya,” added the two-division champion coach. “She has the talent and she is still growing. Talagang unti-unti lang dapat.”
The four-time champion and two-time MVP in the high school ranks kept Ateneo – now sans Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kat Tolentino and playing without injured starting setter Wong (shin injury) and Gaston (sick) – together to stave off the upset-conscious Letran side.
With Madayag and Tolentino, as well as school legend Alyssa Valdez watching her, Nisperos gave the Lady Eagles’ faithful a glimpse of what to expect from her in the blue and white.
However, the 5-foot-9 spiker admitted that she still has a lot to improve.
“Well, as a starter, I have a lot to improve on pa. Siyempre, I’m thrilled and overwhelmed na I’m already here in Ateneo playing,” said the tantalizing talent. “I think, I’ll grow here more than when I was in high school.”
Nisperos outshone the Adamson troika of Trisha Genesis, Lucille Almonte, and Louie Romero, Klarisa Abriam of CSB, Imee Hernandez of UST, Regine Arocha of Arellano, and Charina Scott of Perpetual for the weekly award handed out by reporters from print and online covering the league.