Red Cub Nelle on long-awaited breakout: ‘In God’s perfect time’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 16, 2016 07:58 PM
Nelle on long-awaited breakout: ‘In God’s perfect time’
FINALLY. Second-year sharpshooter Evan Nelle's breakout was a long time coming.

College of St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills’ plan to counter San Beda High School’s size advantage was nothing but sound – play zone to prevent the ball from reaching the hands of MVP contender Sam Abu Hijleh and hulking Germy Mahinay.

Only, that zone defense also gave up lots and lots of good looks for Evan Nelle.

Only, that zone defense was all the erstwhile struggling second-year sharpshooter needed to finally rediscover his shooting stroke.

Slumping through the entire first round in only averaging 7.9 points in paltry 34 percent shooting, Nelle has been slowly, but surely making his way back among the league’s best producers since the start of the second round. There’s no doubt he’s up there now after his 27-point, four-assist, and three-rebound performance on Friday.

Just with nine triples for all of the first round, San Beda’s lead guard drilled eight of his 14 tries against the Junior Blazers. The difference from then to now was pretty clear for coach JB Sison who said, “Nag-zona sila e kaya nabigyan siya ng kumpyansa nung maaga pa lang.”

For his part, Nelle could only agree with his coach. As he told reporters with a big smile, “Finally talaga. Struggling all season, now, ‘di ako masyado binantayan.”

Throughout his slump, the wiry guard shared he never lost faith – both in himself and the higher being he offers everything up to. As he put it, “Sinasabi ko talaga lagi sa sarili ko, in God’s perfect time. I kept praying to him to get my game back.”

He then continued, “Also, I kept working hard. Ang dami kong extra shots after practice to get my shot back.”

Not only did he rediscover his shooting stroke, it was also him who also seized for the seven-time champions a sure first-place finish in the elimination round as well as the twice-to-beat advantage it entails. “We can’t lose na talaga, yun lang naisip ko. I will do everything to win,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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