Nieto on starting for Ateneo: ‘I can also be like them and be somebody'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 19, 2015 06:24 PM
Nieto on starting: ‘I can also be like them and be somebody'
REMEMBER, REMEMBER. Replacing both Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani, Matt Nieto has steadied Ateneo's point guard position.

So much talk revolved around Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani finally being eligible and taking over Ateneo de Manila University’s point guard position that a highly-skilled product of Katipunan’s own Juniors program was forgotten.

Good thing Matt Nieto is pretty used to getting overlooked. The well-built point guard was a champion and a Mythical selection in his last year as a Blue Eaglet, but still took a backseat to season MVP Mike Nieto (his twin) and Finals MVP Jolo Mendoza.

Now in the Seniors division, Nieto’s name was lost amidst all the hoopla about former Far Eastern University-Diliman star Pingoy and ex-Nazareth School of National University standout Cani finally being able to play as Blue Eagles. Things looked to be set even more when Pingoy started and Cani was the first guard off the bench in Ateneo’s season-opener.

However, the highly-touted duo far from impressed and coach Bo Perasol felt he needed more energy from his court general. Enter the forgotten fully-fledged Katipunan kid and with Nieto getting the most minutes among their three pointmen, Ateneo has rang off three wins in a row.

The former Eaglet has even started the last two games and has made his head coach proud. “He’s actually playing really well for us. He gets the job done more on defense, but he still has so much potential,” Bo Perasol told ABS-CBN Sports.

According to Nieto, Perasol informed him of his insertion into the starting lineup during one of their practices before their matchup against University of the East last Wednesday. Sharing his reaction, the new Ateneo starter said, “Of course, lagi naman akong ready. Basta I’ll do my job every single game being a defensive stopper and to bring energy on the court.”

He then continued, “Coach has given me an opportunity to start and I did my best not to disappoint him.”

Along with his coach’s trust, the Ateneo Juniors product also shared that he is fuelled by a desire to make everyone regret forgetting about him. “I do what I can to prove everyone wrong about me. To prove that I can also be like them and be somebody,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

Still, Nieto was quick to clarify that all he does is still within the Eagles’ gameplan. “I do everything for the sake of the team. Kung ano yung makakatulong sa team, I do it,” he said.

Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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