MANILA (UPDATED) -- Ateneo de Manila University team captain Faith Nisperos announced on Tuesday morning that she would be forgoing her final year in the UAAP and play for the Akari Chargers in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
The outside hitter from Davao bared that some of the reasons why she went with Akari are familiarity and player composition.
"My best finish with Ateneo is third place, and I got this bronze medal together with some of the key players during that season which are Ate Jaja Maraguinot, Dani Ravena, and Erika Raagas who are all from the Akari Chargers. So I believe it won't take me that much to gel with the team," she said.
"Moreover, I like that there is so much balance in the team. They're a good mix of veterans and youngsters," Nisperos adds.
She also said that there were seven teams in the PVL who showed interest in signing her, and revealed that the PLDT Highspeed Hitters came close to getting her services.
"There were seven teams who showed interest, eight including Ateneo. Ang daming factors, but maybe what stood out for me is how promising and yung feeling ko na ang gaan to be with them, and that's what made Akari stand out for me. All the teams naman gave me valid reasons to choose them, but PLDT came so close."
Nisperos' management later said that both Rebisco franchises -- Creamline and Choco Mucho -- PLDT, Cignal HD, F2 Logistics, and Chery Tiggo recruited the prolific open hitter, with Ateneo also urging her to stay for a final season.
The 23-year-old led the fourth-seed Blue Eagles to a third-place finish in Season 84, besting out Adamson University in the battle for fourth, and knocking out University of Sto. Tomas in straight sets in the first round of the step-ladder playoffs, before losing to rival De La Salle University in the next round.
Ateneo failed to enter the Final 4 in Season 85 however, finishing in sixth place with a 4-10 record in a season where Nisperos finished second in league scoring with 228 total points. She also finished ninth in attacking, with a 29.9% spiking percentage.
Still, the former UAAP Juniors MVP was grateful for her Alma Mater and her supporters who stayed throughout her collegiate career.
"To the Ateneo community, to the fans, to everyone, sobrang thank you. Saying goodbye was really hard for me. They know that it was a difficult decision for me, but they accepted it and wished me good luck. I'm really glad na they were there to support me, and I hope even though I'm moving on, I'll still see you supporting me and my future team as well. Sobrang thank you na natupad yung pangarap ko na maging Atenista," said Nisperos.
Ateneo also thanked Nisperos in a separate statement, showing appreciation for her exemplary showing both as a student and as an athlete as she is also set to graduate from the University.
"For the past four years, Faith Nisperos has been an exemplary Atenean student-athlete as team captain of the Ateneo Blue Eagles Women's Volleyball Team.
Now, Faith has decided to spread her wings further. She has informed the University that she will be entering the world of professional volleyball as she concludes her studies in Ateneo with a degree in BS Management.
We thank her for being a model student-athlete embodying the One Big Fight spirit inside and outside the court.
We fully believe that Faith will continue to inspire volleyball athletes and fans in Ateneo and beyond in the years to come, all for the greater glory of God, ad majorem Dei gloriam.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.