Ateneo went wherever Matt Nieto took it, says Coach Tab

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 21, 2019 05:11 PM
Ateneo went wherever Matt Nieto took it, says Coach Tab
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Matt Nieto started his stint in Ateneo de Manila University's Seniors squad as the third point guard behind the likes of Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani.

He closed his career with the Blue Eagles, however, as their undisputed court general.

The younger of the Nieto twins put up per game counts of 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in his fifth and final year in blue and white - all while being at the controls of their historic undefeated run through 16 games in the tournament.

For head coach Tab Baldwin, Matt was able to go through all that and then do all that because of one thing - his winning attitude. "You can just put a W on the top of his head. He's a winner. He wins all the time," he said.

It's hard to argue with that as in the last six years, Nieto has won three titles in the Srs. and one championship in the Jrs. He has also never missed the playoffs.

More than all those wins, though, it's how the 6-foot guard responds to losing that makes him special. "Losing hurts him more than anybody else. He takes it personal and carries it onto the next event so he doesn't lose that one," his multi-titled mentor said.

With that, Ateneo just followed the lead of its undisputed court general all the way to a three-peat - the last one of which was via a season sweep. "All of our guys give us a lot of character, but a lot of time, as Matt goes, we go," coach Tab said.

He then continued, "He's a special human being."

As he moves on to the next step of his young career, Nieto made quite the mark in Katipunan - and more personally, its brilliant tactician. "This guy right here, he's something between a brother and a son to me. Certainly, he's a friend," Baldwin said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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