‘Long term plan’ draws Faith Nisperos to Akari; PLDT a second choice – rezal404

Faith Nispero's Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP

Faith Nisperos. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Forgoing her remaining UAAP playing years for Ateneo was already a tough decision as it is for Faith Nisperos but choosing the right team for the next chapter of her career also proved to be a harder task.

Before deciding on the Akari Chargers, Nisperos had to choose thoroughly from the offers of the seven Premier Volleyball League club teams and Ateneo convincing her to stay.

“All in all there were seven teams who showed interest and eight including Ateneo. I met them in person to hear about their expectations per team,” said Nisperos in a video press conference organized by Virtual Playground on Tuesday morning.

“Honestly, I really had no team in particular which made it harder for me to decide. So me meeting with the teams, their managers, their coaches, hearing them out, knowing their plans coming here gave me ideas and help me select which is going to be my next team.”

Nisperos has committed to signing with Akari but she revealed that PLDT “came close.”

“If not Akari, I would say PLDT came so close and personally I would like to say thank you to Ate Rhea (Dimaculangan), Ate Mika (Reyes), and coach Rald (Ricafort) for considering me. But all teams gave me valid reasons to choose them but PLDT came so close,” she said.


Akari coaches Jorge Souza de Brito.

Akari coaches Jorge Souza de Brito. PVL PHOTO

Among all the offers, the 23-year-old decided to take her talent to Akari because of his long-term plan for her and the young core, which showed her a promising and exciting atmosphere.

“Everyone has it, but (Akari’s) factor maybe what stood out for me is how promising and I felt that it’s easy to get along with them and that’s what made Akari standout for me because I didn’t feel the pressure to play,” said Nisperos in Filipino. “They’ve set the vibe that you can enjoy while having the responsibility of this and that.”

“I really like their long-term plan for me and for the team, and how are they handling the team. While the top priority is to win, they didn’t put pressure on my shoulder but rather just pure encouragement for me to just enjoy playing the sport that I love,” she added.

The UAAP Season 84 2nd Best Outside Hitter said her familiarity with fellow Ateneo products Dani Ravena, Erika Raagas, and Jaja Maraguinot as well as coach Jorge Souza De Brito, who handled her when she played for the national team in the 2021 AVC Club Championship were one of the many factors why she chose to become a Charger.

“I worked well with the coach. Coach Jorge and I worked together in 2021 when I was part of the national team and I learned a lot from him. And even after that, he continues to talk to me and asked me how I am, and gave me advice,” Nisperos said. “I really appreciate that kind of coach who really guides me well in and out of the court. I could also say his credentials speak a lot. I want to learn more from that.”

“I believe it won’t take me that much to jell with the rest of the team because a lot of them are my former teammates as well. And moreover, I like that there is a lot of balance within the team. They’re a good mix of veterans and youngsters. So, sure I will be able to learn from both ends,” she added.

Nisperos, one of the most sought after graduating college players, is not promising anything right away for the young Akari team, which has yet to reach the PVL semifinals in its first two conferences.

“I’m well aware that the team is still in a building phase. But looking at the roster, it has a huge potential with the mix of veterans and young players. I guess I just need time to jell with them more and develop the overall skills as well and most especially the chemistry,” she said. “The skills are there but, of course, nothing beats a good, solid chemistry. My expectation for myself is to jell with them first, get into the groove of the team, and let’s see from there.”

Although she has yet to finalize if she will see action in the Invitational Conference in June or in the season-ending Reinforced Conference, Nisperos can’t wait to step out of her comfort zone when she enters the professional ranks.

“All teams are very competitive and that’s one of the reasons why I want to be there because I want to step out of my comfort zone. Every team has their set of key players and it will be a very high competition,” Nisperos said. “Whatever talents and skills I have, I’m here to contribute that to my future team and of course competing with a lot of MVP caliber players I am very excited to learn from them and experience being on the court with or against them.”

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