MANILA, Philippines—Mike Nieto showed his worth in Converge’s commanding 113-84 win against Northport in the PBA on Tour on Friday.
Nieto showed up big and affected all ends of the court with his all-around game of 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, much to the delight of stand-in coach Franco Atienza.
“When we got Mike, we pretty much knew what we were getting. We know him, he has a championship pedigree in Ateneo under coach Tab and multiple wins as a captain. we’re the least surprised that he played well with his leadership role, creating shots and defending,” said Atienza.
“Whatever he did tonight, we were not surprised because we were expecting that. He’s a key addition for all the movements we did in this preseason.”
However, Friday’s outing was nothing new for Nieto, the former Rain or Shine cager.
In over 33 minutes of average playing time for the FiberXers in the preseason, Nieto has averages norms of 14.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
Nieto’s performance was also huge in giving his other teammates the opportunity to shine.
His fellow Atenean Adrian Wong top scored for the FiberXers with 23 markers while Justin Arana had his way in the paint with a double-double of 15 and 10 boards.
When asked if the coach expects Nieto to play consistently in the real season come October, Atienza affirmed while also giving props to the other members of the squad’s young core.
“We expect him [to show up] but we also expect all of the guys. These [players] are all handpicked by coach Aldin and we pretty much know what we’re getting. not just with Mike but for all of them, the holdovers,” told Atienza.
“We know they have certain roles in the system because that’s how coach is, he has the lineup planned to a tee.”
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