MATT Nieto said he had no intention of hurting Ben Mbala after being tagged with an unsportsmanlike foul against the La Salle big man during their marquee matchup on Sunday.
Nieto said he was merely trying to stop Mbala from scoring an easy basket, or specifically another highlight dunk that could get the La Salle crowd going in one play during the fourth quarter.
"I didn't want to give him an easy shot, especially not a dunk since mas maha-hype 'yung crowd nila and I just didn't want to give up on that possession with an easy shot,” he said.
"I didn't intend to commit an unsportsmanlike foul and I didn't intend to hurt him but I tried my best aiming for the ball and giving him a regular foul," added Nieto.
Referees, however, didn't see it that way as they went on to tag Nieto with the unsportsmanlike foul.
It was a rough day for Nieto, whose twin brother Mike also had an incident with another La Salle big man Abu Tratter in a battle for the ball.
And on a fastbreak play, Matt also tried to fish for an offensive foul on a sprinting Mbala, only to be called for a blocking foul.
"Sacrifice lang and tapang lang parati," Nieto, a product of the successful Blue Eaglets program, said on the mindset he takes to games.
"And do whatever the team needs you to do. You just have to be ready in any situation that’s given to you. And of course, courage lang and bahala na kasi Ateneo vs. La Salle game. Gagawin mo talaga lahat para manalo."