Even after losing 35 lbs., Nieto assures he’s still ‘Big Mike’
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 01, 2016 07:01 PM
LIKE MIKE (L-Nieto accepting his MVP award in the Juniors division in early 2015. R-Nieto playing a preseason game in mid-2016.). Mike Nieto is confident he is a better basketball player after shedding weight and getting fitter.
He was only in high school then, but Michael Nieto already had a nickname: Big Mike.
That wasn’t only for his hefty size, but for his big-time domination inside the paint and his big-time leadership for Ateneo de Manila High School. Proving worthy of his name, in his final season as a Blue Eaglet, “Big Mike” was also able to call himself Juniors champion and Juniors Most Valuable Player.
Once he moved up into the Seniors division, however, Nieto wasn’t so big anymore – at least in terms of size. No longer a big man and forced into a new position, he only appeared in five games and averaged 1.6 points and 0.2 rebounds in Season 78.
Clearly, a change had to be coming for the incoming second-year Blue Eagle. As he told ABS-CBN Sports, “I know that I don’t have any size advantage because I'm not a big man anymore. At the same time, I realized that I have to be faster to fully play in the wing spot.”
He then continued, “For me to be effective, I needed to shed off weight.”
As it turns out, Nieto didn’t waste time putting actions behind his words. From his weight of 220 lbs. during his time as a Blue Eaglet:
And his weight of 215 lbs. during his rookie season on the Ateneo Seniors lineup:
“Big Mike” now walks around at 185 lbs.:
Of course, the former Juniors champion and MVP admitted that the change didn’t come easy, but it came easier thanks to his loved ones. “One thing I did to shed weight was to run with my girlfriend who’s a track and field player. We ran almost every day after the season ended last year.”
He then continued, “I even patterned my eating habits after her and even though it was hard to manage at first, eventually, I got used to it.”
The effect of the shed weight has been nothing but positive. “I feel lighter so I got faster and quicker plus I also jump higher now. I think I’m a more effective wing now,” “Big Mike” shared.
But can he still even be “Big Mike” even if, well, he isn’t that big anymore? Full of confidence, Nieto responded, “I’m still ‘Big Mike’ no matter what. Before, that was because of my side, but now, that is because of how big my heart is when I’m out there playing and representing my school.
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