EVAN Nelle's transfer from San Beda to La Salle is a risk, but he looks at it more as a chance to further improve his skills as he raises the bar on his career.
"I have bigger goals. Gusto ko mag-Gilas at gusto kong mag-PBA. This one year will be for myself na mag-improve ako ng mag-improve sa lahat ng dapat kong gawin para ma-reach ko yung goals na yun," he said.
Nelle, 21, has already established himself as one of the top court generals in the NCAA in only his sophomore season for the Red Lions.
The 5-foot-10 playmaker led the league in assists last year with his 6.7 per game average, alongside his 10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals as he finished as the MVP runner-up to teammate Calvin Oftana.
Despite those accolades, though, Nelle believes that he's just scratching the surface of his potential. And the only way he can be a better player is to move out of his comfort zone in Mendiola.
"It was a hard decision at sobrang sakit. But I thought about it, gave me sleepless nights. Thinking of this, one year to improve, maybe it's for the best," he said. "Medyo challenging talaga. The UAAP is a different ballgame, more skillful ang players. Unlike sa NCAA na more on diskarte, so I have to adjust to the pace."
So far, Nelle believes that he's gaining his footing in his new home in Taft as he works alongside top guards like Aljun Melecio and Encho Serrano.
"Scoring guards sila, so pinapanood ko sila lagi," he said.
"I like to pass, I like to create, so I'm watching their moves and what I can learn from them. Especially kay Aljun cause he's really shifty, he's a shooter, and he can create his own shots. Yun ang tinitignan ko sa kanila araw-araw, kung paano ko siya kayang gayahin," he said.
Just as the case was when he first played for San Beda, Nelle is absorbing everything like a sponge every day in practice as he has one year to adjust before playing in the UAAP.
"It's totally different especially in terms of style of play," he said. "Sa San Beda kay coach Boyet (Fernandez), it's all halfcourt set. Kay Manong (Derick Pumaren) dito sa La Salle, press all the way."
"It helps me as a player cause I would develop my defensive skills, yung reactions ko. Mas matututo ako kasi he's a different coach. As I've learned from coach Boyet, I'll also learn things from Manong and it would help me in the long run.
"Medyo boring kasi one year akong uupo, but the only thing I can do is work on my game, improve, get bigger, and know Manong's system para pagdating ko, kaya ko na."