A year ago, moments after Ateneo de Manila University captured its second straight title, Matt and Mike Nieto already had their sights set on a three-peat in their final season in the UAAP.
And it’s easy to understand the burning desire that fueled the siblings when one delves into the Nieto’s history — particularly, the patriarch of their household.
The Nieto twins’ second title in Season 81 matched their father’s achievement as a Blue Eagle. Jet Nieto — who also had a championship back in his time as a Blue Eaglet — won consecutive crowns as a Blue Eagle in 1987 and 1988.
So when the Nieto brothers and the Blue Eagles pulled off their historical title conquest on Wednesday night, Mike shouted to the mammoth crowd inside the SM Mall of Asia Arena:
“Talo na namin si Daddy!”
After making a jovial declaration of their success, the Nieto twins waded through the scrum of celebrants and shared an emotional moment with their family.
“Si Daddy walang sinabi. Umiyak lang eh kasi sa sobrang tuwa.
“Tapos nagpasalamat lang kami ni Matt kay daddy, kay mommy, kay Josh tsaka sa sister namin,” bared Mike, who tallied three points, five rebounds and two assists in the title-clinching Game Two victory.
“Of course, during our struggles in college, sila naman ‘yung numero uno na sumuporta sa amin and nagtiwala sa amin, lalo na si Daddy. So nagpasalamat lang kami kay Daddy na sobrang bless[ed] kami na palagi lang siyang nandirito para sa amin,” he added.
Matt, who scattered 14 points, six rebounds and five assists, even admitted that his dad became a source of strength for him when the UST Growling Tigers closed in on Ateneo in the all-important Game Two tiff.
“Ayun kay Daddy, noong nagra-run ‘yung UST kanina… Actually tumitingin lang ako kay Daddy kasi siya ‘yung comfort namin eh.
“Siya ‘yung nagsasabi na okay lang ‘yan. Kahit eye-to-eye contact lang, alam mo na ‘yung message sa amin eh,” recalled the reliable floor general.
“Ever since we were kids, kahit eye-to-eye contact lang kami, alam mo na ‘yung sinasabi niya sa amin eh. So every time we struggle, every time may momentum ‘yung kalaban, or every time na hindi maganda ‘yung situation, we just look at Daddy. Actually, siya pa ‘yung tumatawag sa amin, and malaking bagay ‘yun as a player ’cause you know your dad is going to be there; your first coach is going to be there, always,” he continued.
Now that the Nieto twins have become the winningest members of the family, the two feel overwhelmed.
“Super sweet and sobrang sarap. You know, achieving your goal, wala nang best feeling in the world na lalo na para sa amin ni Mike, na ang goal namin as a family is ma-beat ‘yung kay Daddy.”
Calvin Abueva arrives in Quest Hotel
Kiefer Ravena expects big things from veteran-rookie Mike Ayonayon
PBA hopes to begin scrimmages on Wednesday
High-fives, fist bumps, bro hugs discouraged during PBA Clark bubble games
Phoenix not allowed to include Calvin Abueva to PBA bubble contingent
BNK Blufire parts ways with MLBB team in midst of MPL season
SOURCES: Rhenz Abando, Ira Bataller leave UST
Tab Baldwin praises NBTC program for bringing home Fil-fors
UAAP fetes gen champs, athlete-scholars, honors MVPs, second sem athletes
Chooks-to-Go donates 5,000 pcs of dressed chicken to CESAFI
Barangay Ginebra reunite in SMC HQ, pack PPEs for frontliners
Makati survives Ablaza injury, San Juan to force MPBL North Game Three
- Basketball5 days ago
TY Tang was the smallest of players but had the biggest heart, say Guiao and Pumaren
- Basketball18 hours ago
Topex Robinson and Calvin Abueva headed ‘northbound’
- ESports2 days ago
MPL-PH coaches share thoughts on Project NEXT
- ESports3 days ago
City-wide blackout does not stop Blacklist’s Alas from PUBG competition