Akari’s Faith Nisperos Shines in Front of Her Mother, Secures Victory in CDO
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— With her mother and other relatives from Davao City in attendance, an inspired Faith Nisperos led Akari back to its winning ways with a 25-18, 25-15, 25-19 win over also-ran Gerflor to stay in semifinal contention in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference on Saturday at Aquilino Q. Pimentel International Convention Center.
Nisperos, a Mindanaoan, felt at home in the City of Golden Friendship as her mother Shiela was part of the crowd at the jam-packed venue here, where she dropped 11 points all from attacks to lift the Chargers to a 4-4 record tied with the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers and Petro Gazz Angels in sixth place.
The former Ateneo star relished the opportunity to play an out-of-town game in front of family and relatives, who drove hours just to watch her play in the pros.
“I have several relatives and family friends who went here. It’s really nice to see them. I’m grateful to be here,” said Nisperos in Filipino. “ It’s nice to be back home and the energy is really different. They are really supportive, making the most of this rare opportunity. It’s actually a blessing in disguise because we were able to bond as a team since we’re together in one place.”
Cagayan De Oro native Erika Raagas was honored to play in front of her 80 family members and relatives watching her live for the first time as she scored five points for Akari, which had a 4-1 start before losing three in a row.
Raagas received a plaque of recognition from the city after the game and Gerflor coach Sammy Acaylar, who was happy to be back home despite remaining winless in eight games and the internal problems of his squad.
Eli Soyud also scored 11 points including the game-winning ace for Akari. Dindin Santiago Manabat and Fifi Sharma chipped in eight points each, while Ezra Madrigal tallied a game-high five blocks to finish with six points.
It was a “perfect environment to play” for Akari coach Jorge Souza de Brito. But more importantly, it was a great bounce-back win from the Chargers, who showed a sense of urgency, as they try to make their first-ever semifinal appearance in the PVL.
“That’s the way of life you’re gonna win, you’re gonna lose but since we’re in a competition we have to be prepared for everything. The guys really played great so it’s time to celebrate and prepare for the next step,” the Brazilian coach said.
“It’s a good step forward and I’m thankful that we all put our heads together, really tried to help each other during the game and we had full trust in our coaches’ system and with each other,” Nisperos said.
No one from Gerflor scored in double figures with Danika Gendrauli and Shang Berte leading the way with nine and eight points, respectively.