Evan Nelle ended his collegiate career just like how it started — as a basketball champion.
The 5-foot-10 guard, who tallied 10.9 points, 6.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 steals throughout UAAP Season 86, shared that his title with De La Salle University (DLSU) brought him fulfillment, especially since he was the floor general of this version of the Green Archers that proved a lot of doubters wrong.
“First year ko, champion pero hindi ako gamit. Last year ko, nagagamit ako, nag-champion pa,” the former San Beda University Red Lion said.
“It’s a feeling of vindication. The way I put it. I got to contribute to my team. It feels so good. I don’t know. I don’t have perfect words for it,” he added.
“I prayed for this. I really did. Of course, when you start to play badly, when you lose, doubts will start to kick in. I said, kanina, my teammates were the first ones to put my head up and push back the eagerness to achieve this goal. I would have not done anything without them,” he continued.
“I think I’ve had stronger teams before, but this one, this camaraderie of this group is second to none,” he added.
Nelle was part of the Red Lions’ Season 94 NCAA championship, but it was in Season 95 that he showed his potential, with the point guard getting a Mythical Five award while also placing second in the MVP rankings.
Unfortunately, these accolades did not translate into a title. And it also led to his departure from Mendiola.
A few months later, Nelle transferred to Taft Avenue, and he said that it was the right decision to come back and don the Green and White.
“No regrets. This is a perfect setting, perfect environment for me,” Nelle, who previously attended De La Salle Zobel, said.
This year’s Mythical Five member then shared that this translates even outside the basketball hardwood.
“Lalo na in my last year was really perfect. I met true friends here in La Salle. People I would consider my friends for life, family for life. In my last year, it’s the bond we created with my teammates, everybody around us is something different. It’s one of the best years of my life,” he said.
Contributing to what they built were the practices where they sharpened each other to become champions on and off the court.
“The practices, it’s hella competitive every damn time. You guys don’t know what happens behind closed doors. Nobody wanted to lose. Everybody was locked in to win. From the get-go. We all had one goal from the start of this year. Isipin mo ‘yun, 11 months of a journey and we won. We achieved our main goal, our ultimate goal, and glory,” he explained.
As for his doubters, especially those who criticized him for his comments in Season 85 about how La Salle was the top team that year, Nelle said that it was all fun and games between them.
“It’s funny lang. You know, whatever, you have to back it up. Last year, I did not,” he said.
But in true fashion, he still made a subtle clapback towards DLSU’s doubters.
“I think this year, I did. So good night, guys,” the graduating guard said with a smile. (ABS-CBN News)