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Akari’s Flame Ignited by Nisperos and Raagas in the Presence of Loved Ones

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Faith Nisperos had her mom and several relatives as part of the audience. Hometown hero Erika Raagas had her kin in the coliseum too; a lot of them, that she could no longer keep track.

The two Akari stars made sure their loved ones wouldn’t go home disappointed.

Nisperos, who hails from nearby Davao City, scored 11 points—all on attacks—as the Chargers ended their slide and crushed also-ran Gerflor, 25-18, 25-15, 25-19, to stay in semifinal contention in the 2023 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) second All-Filipino Conference on Saturday.

In front of a huge crowd of about 9,000 at Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. International Convention Center, the Chargers leveled their record to 4-4 and ended a three-game slump to catch up with F2 Logistics and Petro Gazz at sixth place.

Right at home

Nisperos, the former Ateneo star, felt right at home at the bustling southern port city also known as the City of Golden Friendship and relished the opportunity to play an out-of-town game in front of her relatives, who made the hours-long trip from Davao to here to catch her in action.

“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 Cty native Erika Raagas was honored to play in front of her 80 family members—her last count—with most of them watching her live for the first time. At one point in the match, she came up with five straight points that kept the Chargers in control.

“Right now, I feel they’re like over 80,” she said. “Others are still outside. In the patron [section] alone, I think there are 26 of them (relatives). And then [in the upper sections] they are around 50 already and then there’s some who bought (tickets) on their own so I don’t know the exact number.”