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    Nelle insists having 'bad game' despite 14 assists, but Fernandez all praises

    Jul 12, 2019
    PHOTO: dante peralta

    EVAN Nelle was far from happy with his performance despite coming close to the NCAA record for most assists.

    "Bad game for me eh. Halos di ako maka-shoot," rued the sophomore point guard on Friday as he missed his first four shots. "First quarter tumira ako, puro miss."

    With the ring not giving him any favors, he opted to do the next best thing: make plays.

    That decision worked wonders as Nelle quarterbacked San Beda's blazing 15-0 opening blast to set the tone for the 74-52 victory for its second win in the NCAA Season 95 seniors basketball tournament.

    "I thought Calvin (Oftana) and James (Canlas) were making their shots, so ako, create na lang para sila na lang ang mag-score," said the 21-year-old court general.

    "Yun naman ang trabaho ko, to pass."

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    Nelle went on and dished out 11 assists in the first half alone, yet could only add three more as the Red Lions struggled to execute in the succeeding two frames -- an issue coach Boyet Fernandez took exception with.

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    "We thought na yung 11 assists niya will be record-breaking na, but after that, three na lang nung second half kasi di na kami nakaka-shoot at di na nakaka-execute," lamented the four-time NCAA champion coach.

    Still, Nelle's 14 assists is no joke as he went two dimes shy of tying Jio Jalalon's mark set in 2015 for Arellano. He also added five points, three rebounds, and three steals in the win.

    For Nelle, though, tying or even breaking the record was the least of his concerns as he's just glad to have done his task well for the Red Lions.

    "When my teammates are making their shots, mas madali mag-create. May malilibre at malilibre talaga," he said, expressing his gratitude for the faith given to him by Fernandez.

    "It's a privilege to be a starter for San Beda. It's kind of a big deal. Pasalamat na rin ako kay coach na pinagkakatiwalaan niya ako and I'm putting in the work naman."

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    Fernandez, who himself is one of the elite guards the PBA has ever seen, also believes that Nelle has what it takes to make it big, not just in the NCAA but also beyond his college years.

    "One day, he'll be one of the best point guards in college and hopefully in the PBA," he said. "He's good. He just has to bulk up a bit. Payat lang siya."

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    PHOTO: dante peralta
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