UAAP 82: 'Matty Ice' keeps cool even after being lone scoreless Eagle

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 26, 2019 04:55 PM
'Matty Ice' keeps cool even after being lone scoreless Eagle
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

ANTIPOLO - Ateneo de Manila University flat-out dominated National University, Saturday at Ynares Center here, to fly to its 13th win in as many games in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

So dominant were the Blue Eagles that 13 of the 14 players sent in by head coach Tab Baldwin contributed in the scoring column.

The one and only player scoreless? Court general Matt Nieto who missed all four of his attempts from the field.

For the graduating guard, however, points were never his concern. "You know me, I don't really care about stats. Whether I had a good game or ako lang 'di naka-shoot, I just want na panalo kami," he said.

Indeed, Nieto and all of Ateneo were celebrating the biggest stat of all - a win that keeps them in the running for a clean sweep of the elimination round.

And make no mistake, even though he was the one and only player scoreless for the blue and white, the 6-foot playmaker was still a big part of that win as he had for himself seven rebounds and three assists. "I don't really care. I just take what the defense gives me and kung maka-shoot ako, that's just a bonus kasi my role sa team is to be the leader inside the court, be the court general," he shared.

He then continued, "And I just look at my efficiency tapos sabi ni Coach Tab, I was plus-27. What I care about naman is doing all I can to help the team basta 'di kami papatalo."

In the end, Nieto reiterated that he doesn't need to score to do his job which is to make sure his teammates become better. "Before the game, sabi ni coach sa amin, dahil malapit na playoffs, this is the time na we make our teammates better. Sa akin, malaki impact nun so I wanted to share the ball and build up yung confidence ng iba," he said.

Without a doubt, he did just that, encouraging the likes of BJ Andrade, Matthew Daves, and Troy Mallillin to make their presences felt.

And so, it didn’t even matter that he wound up with a stat line far from his averages of 7.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals.

What mattered was that the Blue Eagles were on the right side of a big win.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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