Cool heads Matt Nieto, Thirdy Ravena get thumbs-up, cash bonus
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles may not have won a medal in the William Jones Cup, but they held themselves in high distinction after exceeding all expectations as a collegiate team.
From leaving their locker rooms spotless after games a la Japan in the World Cup to helping up injured opponents in the middle of blowout losses, the Philippine representatives certainly won over the hearts of fans around the world with their professional displays on and off the court.
Team backer Ronald Mascarinas took due notice and rewarded them in kind.
During a celebration lunch in Ortigas on Tuesday, July 24, Mascarinas rewarded team leaders Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena with a total of P100,000 for displaying sportsmanship towards South Korea, where the Blue Eagles suffered their worst Jones Cup loss, 73-90.
“In the game against Korea, tambak na tayo, and there was one Korean player who was visibly hurt,” Mascarinas recalled. “Doon lumutang talaga yung highest level of sportsmanship when Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto, inakay yung Korean player hanggang sa bench. For that, we are recognizing Thirdy and Matt for their supreme act of sportsmanship. We’re giving them a token of appreciation for inspiring all of us to be the best versions of ourselves in the face of adversity.”
(“In the game against Korea, we were already down big, and there was one Korean player who was visibly hurt. That’s where the highest level of sportsmanship surfaced when Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto assisted the player to their bench.”)
Ever the humble players, Gilas cadets Nieto and Ravena deflected the praise and just thanked the support they got from their countrymen.
“Thank you po sa lahat ng supporters na sumuporta sa amin,” Nieto said. “Nararamdaman namin yung support niyo kahit sa social media – sa Facebook, sa Twitter. Lahat ng mga Pilipino talaga sumusuporta sa amin kahit yung mga kalaban namin na ibang schools talagang sinuportahan kami. So talagang proud kami and talagang thankful kami sa opportunity. Sana talaga naging proud kayo sa amin.”
(“Thank you to all our supporters who were there for us. We felt your support even in social media – on Facebook, on Twitter. Filipinos really supported us even our foes from other schools. We’re really proud and thankful for the opportunity. We hope you were proud of us.”)
Ravena likewise just thanked Ateneo’s supporters both here and abroad, especially those who watched live in New Taipei City.
With all the bad rap the Philippines got recently in the international basketball scene, Nieto and Ravena are off to a good start in rehabbing the country’s image. – Rappler.com