Evan Nelle finally broke his silence about his sudden departure from San Beda University.
And the former Red Lion did not mince his words, sharing his story on Straight Up with Mikee Reyes.
“I never told anyone my side,” said the 22-year-old floor general.
Last November 19, 2019, San Beda’s bid for a five-peat came crashing down at the hands of rival Colegio de San Juan de Letran. And it came via a heartbreaking 79-81 Game Three loss.
“As a player, ‘yun ‘yung pinaka-ayaw mong maramdaman. Lalo na sa akin as a senior, naging team at pamilya mo ‘yan tapos maghihiwalay na lang kayo ng ganun. Tinanggap na lang pero hindi okay ‘yung vibe e,” recalled Clint Doliguez, who played his final game.
Nelle recalled that he was inconsolable after the game.
“After the game, I went doon sa hallway ng MOA. I was crying. I didn’t do the alma mater kasi sobrang hagulgul ako noon. Coach JB [Sison] was with me, my parents, the security guard. As in umiiyak talaga ako noon and every one was talking to me,” he said.
“I was hearing footsteps on the way back and when I looked up… The coach… Tinignan ako tapos umiling at inirapan ako. Hindi man lang ako kinomfort.”
Letran had built an 11-point lead during the final frame before Nelle caught fire.
Nelle and Fran Yu then exchanged big baskets, with the former knocking down a long three to cut the lead down to just two, 79-81, with 11.5 seconds left.
Bonbon Batiller and Yu would suffer cramps with just seconds left. Moreover, San Beda forced the latter to a jump ball with 5.4 ticks remaining, giving the Red Lions one last shot at glory.
However, Nelle’s three attempt was blocked, while Donald Tankoua could not recover.
In the locker room, the mood was down. Nelle, who had 11 points in the contest, was still crying in his locker.
He would then allege that head coach Boyet Fernandez blamed him for the loss.
“Going in sa dugout mismo, magkakatabi kami – ako, si Clint, si [Franz] Abuda, at si [Calvin] Oftana. Tapos may speech si coach, thanking everybody,” Nelle continued.
“We have this player na hindi masipag, dun umiyak ‘yung coach namin. ‘Yung sacrifices daw namin sayang. Tapos parang pagdating sa side namin, una kasi si Clint e. He is a senior tapos ‘yung speech niya… It wasn’t s***,” he opined.
“Tapos ako ‘yung last. Immature daw kasi ako. Ako pa nasisi. Tapos naka-head down ako, when he said that I looked up.”
But at the time, Nelle shared that his heart was still with San Beda saying, “Baka talo lang, sore loser.”
Christmas and New Year passed, but Nelle raised that no one from San Beda even bothered to message him.
Then came the first week of practice. Nelle – who was part of the all-NCAA Season 95 team – alleged that Fernandez gave him the cold shoulder.
“Nag-practice ako one week nung January. Tapos hindi pa rin ako pinapansin. Doon na dumating ‘yung dalawang point guard. Parang bale-wala na ko.”
That’s when Nelle decided to pack his bags and leave San Beda.
“I was already one week out, wala man lang kamusta. They let me walk. Nagpaalam ako sa kanila tapos sabi sa akin, ‘Good luck ah!'”
Though Nelle did not tell San Beda’s staff where he was heading, Oftana already knew.
“Alam ko na na aalis siya. Sabi ko pa sa labas, ‘Animo La Salle!’,” quipped the NCAA Season 95 MVP.
Nelle formalized his move to La Salle last January 21.
Up to this day, the bitter memory still remains with Nelle.
“Sobrang bad trip lang ng part na ‘yun. ‘Yun ‘yung one of the reasons I decided to leave.”