If it already hurts to see a loved one in pain, with you unable to help, how much worse would it feel if that person is your twin.
That’s what happened on Saturday evening during Game One of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Finals.
With 36.6 seconds remaining in the first half, Matt Nieto went to double team Ben Mbala as the latter drove to the paint. However, as the 6-foot-8 Cameroonian student-athlete tried to throw up a shot, he accidentally elbowed the 6-foot-1 Matt Nieto, resulting in a nasty gash.
The camera quickly panned to Mike Nieto, who was sitting on the bench, throwing down a towel. He was visibly frustrated that he could do nothing to help his brother.
“Well to be honest, nung nahulog si Matt, noong nasiko siya ni Ben, kung makikita niyo sa video, I threw the towel on the floor,” the 19-year-old Mike shared.
“Nasaktan din ako nung natamaan si Matt.”
However, Mike — who is a few minutes older than Matt — knew that he could not physically retaliate. Instead, the 6-foot-1 forward got back at Mbala and the De La Salle University Green Archers by willing the Blue Eagles to victory.
“I didn’t want to retaliate by hurting La Salle physically or punching them, I just wanted to win the game,” added Nieto after Ateneo’s 76-70 Game One win.
After going scoreless in the first half, Mike erupted for 11 points in the second half, scoring seven straight points in a 9-1 run to start the final frame.
“I just got really motivated when Matt got down, hindi naman sinasadya ni Ben, medyo na-motivate lang ako,” shared Nieto.
“I really needed to step up, medyo dikdikan yung laro and we had to enjoy those types of games.”
With Ateneo needing all the inspiration they could muster, Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga shared that he and the staff were glad that they found their fuel, and that Matt was all right.
“Like sabi ni kapatid, it might have motivated us.”
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