De La Salle University rookie Angel Canino showed out in her first taste of Ateneo-La Salle action in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday night.
Canino seized the spotlight and fired a game-best 23 points, including eight in the first set, to power the Lady Spikers’ 25-16, 25-20, 25-13 sweep of the Blue Eagles at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Having played against Canino before during their time in high school, Ateneo star Faith Nisperos was the least surprised with how the 19-year-old rookie composed herself under the bright lights of the biggest collegiate rivalry in Philippine sports.
“Of course, time will come talaga na she will go to collegiate. Siyempre her skills naman, the way she played, I already know. Na-expect ko na yan, I already saw how she played her past games,” said Nisperos, a two-time UAAP Girls’ MVP and four years the elder of Canino.
“Well, tama nga sinabi ni Coach O (Almadro), she’s confident. Kami naman, as a team, we need to counter that with confidence as well. That’s all we need to do.”
As for her team, Nisperos said that the loss proved that Ateneo still has a lot of work to do in order to compete against the UAAP’s best.
“As a team, I can say this is a rollercoaster ride. UAAP, you could win some, lose some. It’s a never-ending cycle of learning. Today’s game just showed we need to work more. That’s it. We have to acknowledge our own roles, and work more. That’s it,” said Nisperos.
Nisperos paced the Blue Eagles with 11 points and 11 excellent receptions but it was not enough as Ateneo suffered its second loss after three games in Season 85.
The reigning 2nd best outside hitter said that the Katipunan-based spikers, unlike Canino, succumbed to the pressure – something that they cannot afford if they want to surpass their third-place finish in the previous UAAP season.
“Every game, di talaga mawawala yung pressure, but what I try to tell them is just think about what you have to do, your role. Focus ka sa role mo and through that, matutulungan mo yung team. Pag natutulungan mo yung team, magiging mas madali and we can work as one,” said Nisperos.
Nisperos vowed to work twice as hard as they look to end their two-game skid against Far Eastern University on Wednesday.
“Ang constant reminder ko lang sa kanila kanina is just do your role. Trabaho lang tayo, that’s it. Magtulungan lang. Yun lang naman yung kailangan naming bigyan ng attention eh, yung trabaho namin.”