Bittersweet feeling for Matt Nieto as twin Mike fails to make Gilas final 12
MANILA, Philippines—Only one set of brothers will be in the Philippines’ final lineup for the Fiba Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers with Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena getting that distinction.
Matt Nieto won’t be with his twin brother Mike when the Philippines plays its first game in the qualifiers against Indonesia on Sunday.
It was a bittersweet realization for Nieto, who has played with his twin for the entirety of his basketball career in Ateneo, except for that one year when Mike was cut from the Blue Eagles.
“When I saw the lineup I was super happy but I reviewed it again and Mike wasn’t there. Yes I’m happy but there was something missing, I’m not used to playing without him,” said Nieto after Gilas Pilipinas’ Thursday practice at Meralco Gym.
“I really didn’t know what I would tell Mike and I really didn’t say much when we were at home but he was the first one to congratulate me that I was part of the lineup.”
Both the Nieto twins were chosen as part of the pool but Mike had to take a back seat since he had to share the same positions as Thirdy, CJ Perez, and Roger Pogoy.
Nevertheless, Nieto said that Mike getting cut from the final roster would just light up a fire inside him.
“Mike always finds a way to motivate himself and to be a better player,” said Nieto. “Maybe he’s raging right now, in a good way, because he’ll find a way to improve and to know his weaknesses.”
“Well, I’m just proud that both of us were chosen to be part of the pool and even though he wasn’t chosen as part of the final 12-man team at least he was part of our journey.”
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