JONES CUP: ‘Matty Ice’ says game-winner was for all of Philippines
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 22, 2018 10:28 AM
Matt Nieto lived up to his “Matty Ice” monicker in hitting the game-winner for the Philippines versus Chinese Taipei Blue (Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Basketball League)
Matt Nieto won a game not just for Ateneo de Manila University, but for all of the Philippines in the 2018 William Jones Cup.
“Sobrang saya namin cause hindi lang Ateneo ang nanalo, buong Philippines ang nanalo,” he said in an online interview with media.
The Blue Eagles were trailing by two with 3.1 ticks to go in their matchup against home team Chinese Taipei Blue last Saturday before head coach Tab Baldwin had the perfect play with Thirdy Ravena inbounding and finding Nieto for a good look from beyond.
“Matty Ice” then rose and launched a triple and the defense was unable to do anything as the ball found the bottom of the net, winning the game for Ateneo – the first collegiate team to be wearing the flag in the tournament.
And yes, he hit that shot with much of the crowd against him. “First time namin to play na buong arena, puro kalaban kaya nakaka-pressure. At the same time, nakaka-excite din kasi minsan lang mangyari ito,” he said.
The noise was all around when coach Tab designed the play, when Ravena inbounded the ball, and when Nieto took the shot.
After Nieto made it, however, the silence was deafening from the home crowd.
In the end, modest as always, the hero for Chooks-to-Go-powered Ateneo Pilipinas deflected all credit. “I’m so happy pero I give all the credit to my coaches and teammates. Coach Tab for coming up with a brilliant play, George for the solid screen, and Thirdy for the terrific pass,” he expressed.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.