Matt Nieto on Mbala hit: 'I’m going to sacrifice everything, even my face, for that possession'
Matt Nieto checks his wound after the Ateneo win. Jerome Ascano

ATENEO guard Matt Nieto brushed off the cut he got after getting hit by La Salle center Ben Mbala in Game One of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball finals on Saturday.

Nieto had to be treated late in the second quarter after getting on the receiving end of an inadvertent elbow by Mbala. He later returned to the match and finished with 11 points in the Blue Eagles’ 76-70 win over the Green Archers at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 19-year-old Nieto considered the incident unfortunate but he was already expecting the hit soon as he went to double Mbala. The Ateneo guard pointed out that he was more than ready to sacrifice his body on the play.

“I was anticipating for his spin. Siguro he was just too tall. Sakto ‘yung elbow niya sa face. I was really expecting the spin. I really want him to get the spin because I’m going to sacrifice myself, even my face, even my body just to get that possession on us,” said Nieto.

“Even though I was down and even though they didn’t call the charging on me, I just want to know that I’m going to sacrifice everything, even my face, for that possession. Because that possession will win us the game,” he added.

The 6-foot-1 guard said there was no question about him returning to the game, as he didn’t even feel the pain because of the adrenaline rush of playing a finals match against archrival La Salle.

“They were trying to stop the blood. I don’t know na lumabas na pala ‘yung blood. Actually, hindi ko naramdaman kasi it was the adrenaline. I didn’t know that there was blood at first. I didn’t want to let the team down. Ayoko mawala sa laro. Kaya gusto kong bumalik. But they have to stop the blood. Worth it naman,” said Nieto.


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