NICO Salva hopes to bring his personal winning tradition to the NLEX Road Warriors who he will be joining in the coming PBA D-League.
Salva is fresh from winning a fifth straight UAAP men’s basketball title in his fifth and final playing year with Ateneo. He also won a second consecutive Finals MVP as he led the Blue Eagles to a 2-0 sweep of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers in the title series.
The soft-spoken big man said that aside from the Road Warriors, he’ll also be having a stint with the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas cadet team, before he considers turning pro next year.
“I’ll be playing for NLEX,” said Salva. “Then I’ll be part of the Gilas cadet team, and I’ll probably join the draft.”
By joining NLEX, Salva is actually jumping from one dynasty to another. He is on pace to add to his trophy collection at NLEX, which has established a dynasty of its own after winning the first three conferences of the PBA D-League.
Salva was acquired by NLEX along with Ateneo teammate Greg Slaughter in the Road Warriors’ buildup for the Aspirants Cup that opens on October 23. He and Slaughter are expected to pick up the cudgels for the team following the departure of Cliff Hodge, Chris Ellis, Calvin Abueva, Dave Marcelo, and Emman Monfort for the pros.
Salva had a rare distinction of winning titles in all of his five playing years with the Blue Eagles. He also won both Finals MVP awards for leading the Eagles during their last two championship runs opposite Far Eastern University Tamaraws and the Tigers.
“I think this is the sweetest (the fifth crown). It’s nothing like leaving your school with a win. I never imagined getting five championships in five years,” Salva said.