It didn’t take long for Mike Nieto to fit himself into the system of his new team, Converge.
In his first game as a FiberXer, Nieto emerged as one of the three players who finished with a double-double performance, and helped Converge in completing a convincing 119-82 triumph over Terrafirma in the Philippine Basketball Association On Tour preseason tournament at the Ynares Arena in Pasig on Friday.
Nieto wound up with 12 points and 12 boards to make a good first impression.
But Nieto wasn’t the only one who had a solid performance as Justin Arana and Jeo Ambohot also had a double-double showing for the FiberXers.
Arana muscled his way for 24 points and 12 rebounds while Ambohot had 11 markers on top of 11 boards.
Jerrick Balanza also had 24 points while Jeron Teng added 12 markers and Adrian Wong chipped in 11 for the FiberXers, who scored 40 points inside the paint, 24 more than the Dyip.
Converge also had more second chance points, 20-5, and had 23 fast break points compared to only eight for Terrafirma.
With his former teammates at Rain or Shine teasing him from the sidelines, Nieto put on a show and proved that he’s now feeling at home with his new squad.
Nieto was traded to the FiberXers in exchange for two future second-round picks.
“That’s the result of being close with them. They will not tease me had it not been with the relationship I’ve developed,” said Nieto.
“The bonding I had with Kuya Beau (Belga) and Kuya Gabe (Norwood), I will never forget it and all the crazy stuff I’ve been doing with Mamu (Gian Mamuyac) and others.”
But he admitted that leaving the Elasto Painters was also a painful decision.
“I’m really close to my Rain or Shine family,” said Nieto, who as early as 2020 had been working out with the squad while he was with the Gilas Pilipinas team.
“I cried when I got traded, especially that I’m close with Coach Yeng (Guiao). Matt (Nieto) was like a son to him and he worked with him longer. At the end of the day, i’m grateful with the opportunity given to me by Rain or Shine.”
But with his new team, Nieto is ready to foster a new relationship with the entire members of the squad and his good game is an indication that he has certainly found a new home.
CONVERGE 119 – Arana 24, Libra 24, Nieto 12, Teng 12, Ambohot 11, Racal 8, Ebona 7, Stockton 5, Guinto 5
Terafirma 82 – Tiongson 17, Ferrer 12, Daquioag 11, Alolino 8, Go 7, Cahilig 5, Taladua 5, Alanes 5, Camson 4, Gomez de Liano 4, Calvo 2, Ramos 2, Grospe 0, Mina 0
QUARTERS: 22-18, 57-40, 85-58, 119-82