MANILA, Philippines – With Ateneo de Manila University in the rebuilding stage, rookie Faith Nisperos showed that the Lady Eagles still have plenty of potential as she came up big in her first game for the Blue and White.
Ateneo lost its three towers – Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kat Tolentino – to graduation, and were also playing sans veterans Deanna Wong and Ponggay Gaston.
But Nisperos, the standout from National University's high school program, announced her arrival in the collegiate level by leading the Lady Eagles to a victory over Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the opening day of the 2019 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Collegiate Conference.
Nisperos dropped 19 points in Ateneo's 25-16, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20 triumph over the Lady Knights last Saturday in Group A of the 12-team field.
Her performance and on-court presence as the leader of the Lady Eagles earned her the nod as the first-ever Sports Vision PVL Collegiate Conference Player of the Week.
Nisperos scored 17 points off attacks, but what most impressed Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro was the rookie's willingness to be a leader, as Gaston was feeling under the weather and had skipped the Lady Eagles' first game.
"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, who steered Ateneo to the Season 81 title.
"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'," he added.
Almadro praised Nisperos' willingness to be coached, noting: "She has the talent and she is still growing. Talagang unti-unti lang dapat."
Nisperos, who formally committed to Ateneo last year, said she has a lot more to work on following an impressive debut.
"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 5-foot-9 spiker. "I think, I'll grow here more than when I was in high school."
Nisperos outshone the Adamson University troika of Trisha Genesis, Lucille Almonte, and Louie Romero, Klarisa Abriam of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, Imee Hernandez of University of Santo Tomas, Regine Arocha of Arellano University, and Charina Scott of University of Perpetual Help for the weekly award handed out by reporters from print and online covering the league.
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