20 December 2014,
Blue Eagle Gym,
The last time Joseph Nieto came and watched a game of the 77th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) junior basketball tournament in 2014 was on Dec. 20, Saturday.
He watched his son Mike Nieto score the winning basket for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, who stopped the defending champion National University Bullpups, 66-64.
The win was posted at the Blue Eaglets’ own home court at the Blue Eagle gym in Quezon City.
(Mike Nieto in action).Photo sourced from Richard Esguerra.
Mike had seven points and 15 rebounds in that game.
He drove in with 2.5 seconds left, shattering a 64-all deadlock.
This helped the Blue Eaglets sweep their seven-game assignment at the close of the first round.
(Lorenzo Mendoza (left) in action).- photo sourced from Richard Esguerra.
His heroics also snapped the Bullpup’s two-season winning run after 22 games.
This hand NU its first setback after winning their first ever title via a 15-game winning streak last season.
Lorenzo Mendoza showed the way 20 points for the Blue Eaglets.
The Blue Eaglets have remained unbeaten after seven games.
- Why Joseph Nieto enjoyed the game
Nieto, who is now an orthopedic surgeon, played in 1987 and 1988 in the senior division of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
I caught up with him in the upper box after the game.
“Wala pa mga sons ko nuon,” said Nieto, who played alongside Danny Francisco, Jun Reyes, Nonoy Chuatico and Jayvee Gayoso.
Together, they helped the Blue Eagles win back-to-back title in the UAAP that year under different coaches.
“My sons started playing at age four,” said Nieto, who added that Mike and Matthew never got to see him play.
An ACL injury in 1988 kept him from playing competitively professionally later on.
The boys took interest in the game, after watching older kids in their neighborhood play street ball.
“I was not teaching them yet. They were playing with 12, 13 year olds,” added Joseph.
More on Joseph and the Nieto boys.
And so, the Bullpups were led by Mark Dyke.
Dyke showed the way that afternoon with 19 points.
NU dropped to second place with their 6-1 win-loss record at the end of the first round.
The La Salle-Zobel Junior Archers got big baskets from Aljun Melecio and Joaquin Banzon.
The two had with 18 points each.
Both turned to the free throw line in repulsing Far Eastern University, 55-50.
This put the Junior Archers in third spot at 5-2 while FEU fell to fourth at 4-3.
JD Tungcab topscored for 28 points and had 14 rebounds for the Adamson Baby Falconss.
Tungcab’s big performance came as the Baby Falcons bucked a late rally and won over University of the Philippines Integrated School, 56-50.
The Junior Falcons improved at 3-4.
University of Santo Tomas (2-5) leaned on a big last quarter to swamp University of the East, 77-65.
Francis Luna hot 15 points for the Tiger Cubs.