UAAP: No Matt Nieto? Tyler Tio says no problem

Danine Cruz on Oct 24, 2018 05:26 PM
UAAP: No Matt Nieto? Tyler Tio says no problem
Ateneo's next man up mentality bodes well for Tyler Tio

Ateneo de Manila University's veteran point guard Matt Nieto has already missed three games in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament as he recovers from dengue. Despite his absence, the Blue Eagles are still alive and well thanks largely to second-year guard Tyler Tio.

The former Xavier Golden Stallion has been seeing a lot more action in the second round and has been posting good performances game after game. Ten days ago against UP, Tio scored 12 points and grabbed two rebounds. In their game versus FEU, Tio produced eight points, three rebounds, and three assists.

In Ateneo's recent outing versus the University of the East on Wednesday, Tio posted his a career -high 16 points along with two assists.

"I'd like to thank the coaches for having trust in me because if they didn't have trust in me, I wouldn't be that confident on the floor," said Tio. "Because they gave me their trust, I have to perform for them."

The much more experienced point guard left pretty big shoes for his Padawan to fill, but when asked about it, Tio expressed that Nieto is Nieto, and Tio is just going to be Tio.

"Matt for me is probably one of the best college point guards right now so it's really a tough job to replace him. I don't think I can replace him so I'm just doing my job to be me and I'm not trying to be him," he expressed.

Despite holding a good account of himself as a point guard, Tio thinks there are a lot of aspects about Nieto's game that he thinks are irreplaceable.

"More than the skills and more than the X's and O's, it's his heart that really separates him from the rest of the pack. Matt brings a lot to the table, the intangibles that he brings to the game. Sometimes they don't show up in the stat sheet," added Tio.

In the recent games, it was not just Matt Nieto who was missing but also his twin brother Mike due to the same health reasons. In addition, Thirdy Ravena served a one game suspension.

Despite missing the services of these key cogs, Ateneo handled themselves well with their good roster with their next man up mentality.

This character of Ateneo comes as a doubled-edged sword for Tio.

"If I don't do my job, I know someone else on the bench is gonna step up. At the same time, that motivates me to do my job also," he said, "It starts with the fact na everyone in the team has confidence that the next guy can step up. Thankfully the chips fall into place during the game."

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