UAAP: 'Favorite' Mike Nieto, ex-Eaglets still love coach Joe Silva
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 26, 2018 04:31 PM
Coach Joe Silva faced off for the first time against Mike Nieto, who proclaimed to be the former's favorite
Nine of the 16 players in the lineup of Ateneo de Manila University came from its high school program.
The majority of the core made up of Anton Asistio, Thirdy Ravena, and Nieto twins Matt and Mike and key reserves BJ Andrade, Aaron Black, Jolo Mendoza, and Gian Mamuyac as well as youngster SJ Belangel were once Blue Eaglets.
That means that, at one point in their careers, those nine Blue Eagles were under the tutelage of Joe Silva.
You know, the Joe Silva who now calls the shots for University of the East.
On Wednesday, coach Joe faced off with Ateneo for the very first time in the UAAP.
Of course, his former wards admitted that it felt weird being on the opposite side.
“At first, siyempre, nakakapanibago kasi opposite sides kami. Ever since high school, (coach ko siya) so it’s not a familiar situation na nasa opposite side siya,” Mike Nieto, who played four years under Coach Joe said.
Jolo Mendoza, who also had four years with Coach Joe, could only agree. “Weird siya. Nasanay ako na playing under him so it’s weird na we’re going against him,” he said.
Coach Joe was at the helm of the Ateneo Juniors program for seven years where he won two championships and had an overall record of 77-20.
Still, the former Blue Eaglets didn’t take it easy on their former mentor and his new team, as Ateneo trounced UE, 89-62.
For the Ateneo players, they were actually showing their love to Coach Joe by being at their best. “It’s always a good feeling na makalaban mo yung dati mong coach. Kapag naglalaro ka (against him), gusto mo ipakita na nag-develop ka as a player,” Thirdy Ravena shared.
He then continued, “Gusto mo rin ipakita na you respect them by playing 100 percent. Dun mo talaga mapapakita na nirerespeto mo sila.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that the love is all gone between the Blue Eagles and the now Red Warriors head coach.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite – especially for Mike Nieto, who jokingly said that he’s Coach Joe’s favorite. “Nakikipaglokohan nga ako na sa lahat ng players niya, kung papapiliin siya sinong favorite player niya, ako yun e. Ako yung favorite team captain niya of all-time e,” he said through chuckles.
He then continued, “Actually, nami-miss ko siya. ‘Di ako sanay na naka-red siya so niloloko ko siya na sana, bumalik na siya ng Ateneo.”
That much was evident even before the game as, according to “Big Mike,” he and coach Joe expressed their love for each other. “Bago ako pumunta sa bench namin before the game, nagkaroon lang kami ng moment. Niyakap ko lang si Coach Joe and niyakap niya ako kasi, of course, we’ve had a lot of good memories together,” he shared.
He then continued, “Hanggang ngayon naman, hindi mawawala yung pagmamahal ko kay Coach Joe.”
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