UAAP Finals: Nico Salva makes his imprint in Ateneo’s ‘four-peat’
MANILA, Philippine—With Ateneo’s slew of stars led by Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena, if there was one player overlooked and under-appreciated perhaps it would be Nico Salva.
Salva’s crowning moment though came at the most opportune time: The UAAP Finals.
“He (Salva) has a knack for being able to just surrender to the moment when it’s crucial, when it’s championship time,” lauded Ateneo coach Norman Black.
And that moment, when the Blue Eagles overwhelmed Far Eastern University en route to a ‘four-peat,’ Salva owned it.
The six-foot-three Salva took his game to greater heights as he averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in two championship games to bag the Finals MVP award.
What’s more fascinating is the versatile forward put on a shooting clinic as he went 14-of-18 from the field including a perfect eight-of-eight in game one.
“Nico could be averaging 20 points a game in any other team, but on our team—we’re a team,” said Black, who joined the ranks of Baby Dalupan (UE), Aric del Rosario (UST) and Franz Pumaren (DLSU) as the coaches able steer their team to at least four consecutive UAAP titles.
“We share the ball, some nights maybe his (Salva’s) nights. While some are others’ nights,” Black added.
A permanent fixture on Ateneo’s four titles, Salva knows what it takes to be a champion.
“The previous three years, we worked hard for those championships. This is no different,” said Salva.
“This is very special. We worked the hardest that’s why we’re here,” he added.
Salva didn’t make the cut in this year’s mythical team but he didn’t need such citation, not when he already has four championships and a Finals MVP across his name.
“He just has this tendency to deliver, and he’s going to be known as a winner and someone who can sacrifice,” said Black.