Big Mike turns into big cheerleader for twin Matt Nieto
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jan 04, 2016 10:10 PM
GOT YOUR BACK, BRO. Matt and Mike Nieto are still one another's biggest supporters.
This time around last year, Michael and Matthew Nieto were carrying Ateneo de Manila High School to an elimination round sweep that eventually ended up with a championship in the UAAP Juniors.
Elevated onto the Blue Eagles roster in the recently-concluded UAAP Seniors season, however, only one of the twins was able to continue producing. Forgotten in the entry of highly-hyped transferees Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani, Matt wasted no time in reminding everyone about his talent and taking control of the team’sstarting point guard spot.
Confident after turning in a very solid rookie year, the younger Nieto told ABS-CBN Sports, “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I just give all that I have, patayan na kung patayan basta manalo.”
Just like always, Matt’s “big brother” is in his ear, pushing him forward and prodding him onward – the only difference being that Mike is doing it all from the bench. “It’s weird and nakakapanibago (that he’s not on the court with me), but we have to adjust to it,” Matt said.
He then continued, “But in the back of my head, he’s still with me because I know he’s just there on the bench and cheering his lungs out for me.”
Proud of his twin, Mike said, “I’m not surprised with what Matt did. For him to be on the starting lineup during his rookie year and being the youngest on the team, I knew ever since that he can do it.”
His brother’s accomplishment kept Mike upbeat even though his first year as a Blue Eagle trended in the opposite direction. The most recent UAAP Juniors MVP appeared in only five games, averaging 1.6 points in 3.7 minutes.
Talking about the different scenario he found himself in, the older twin said, “It’s weird, but that’s the game of basketball. Sometimes you’re the main guy and sometimes you’re not.”
He then continued, “But in the end, you just have to play your role whether or not you’re the star player or a bench player.”
Admittedly undersized and still working on adding an outside shot, Mike said he remains determined to be a huge part of Ateneo’s post-Kiefer Ravena era. “I’m just ready all the time. This season just means that I have to work on my game more.”
Of course, just like they always do for each other, Matt is and will always be there for his twin. “Sinasabi ko lang lagi sa kanya to be patient because his time will come for sure. Just keep on improving like in our Juniors days when we overcame all adversities together.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.