Nelle apologetic after painful end to ‘rocky’ La Salle season

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2022 04:05 PM

La Salle point guard Evan Nelle reacts after their loss to the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP Season 84 Final 4. UAAP Media.
La Salle point guard Evan Nelle reacts after their loss to the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP Season 84 Final 4. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University point guard Evan Nelle cut a despondent figure after the Green Archers fell apart against the University of the Philippines in their UAAP Season 84 Final 4 game on Friday night.

Ahead by 14 points with seven minutes to play, the Green Archers surrendered a 22-4 run to the Fighting Maroons to absorb a brutal 78-74 defeat. Nelle, who scored a career-high in last Wednesday's game, missed a potential game-tying floater with 10 seconds left that sealed La Salle's fate.

When the buzzer sounded, the guard fell to his knees and covered his head, while the UP players celebrated around him. The Fighting Maroons are headed to the UAAP Season 84 Finals, where they will play the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a best-of-3 series. La Salle, meanwhile, blew a chance to arrange a championship encounter with their archrivals.

Nelle, afterward, didn't hold back when asked about the game.

"We should've won this game," he said. "We really should have won this game."

He had struggled to follow up his 26-point performance in the first game against UP, when they won 83-80 to force a deciding game. On Saturday night Nelle made just 2 of his 12 shots for six points, though he also had four steals, four rebounds, and three assists. The floater that he attempted in the clutch was a shot he has made many times before, and it was halfway into the basket before swirling out.

"We had them," said Nelle. "But I don't know."

"We fell short, we didn't convert, we couldn't get stops, and…. we f*cked up. F*ck," he added.

 The De La Salle Green Archers listen to instructions from head coach Derrick Pumaren during their UAAP Season 84 Final 4 game against UP. UAAP Media.
The De La Salle Green Archers listen to instructions from head coach Derrick Pumaren during their UAAP Season 84 Final 4 game against UP. UAAP Media.

The result concluded what Nelle said was a "rocky" season for the Green Archers. There was no doubting La Salle's talent entering Season 84, but the team struggled to fully put things together particularly on the offensive end. 

Despite the presence of Nelle -- the top point guard in the NCAA before he transferred from San Beda to DLSU -- and veteran big man Justine Baltazar, as well as a slew of other scorers, the Green Archers were a middling team in terms of offense. On many occasions, it was their stout defense that kept them in games.

"This season, it was rocky," said Nelle. "We were like, we're really good on defense, but our offense was like, we never were consistent. So that's why we had a lot of close games."

He offered his apologies to the La Salle community afterward, even as he continued to dwell on what could have been for the team in Season 84.

"Thank you guys talaga for being there for us," he said. "It was a rocky season, like we should've won so many more games."

"I'm so sorry, we're so sorry that we fell short, and we'll take this. We'll take all our learnings and we'll bounce back better. I just wanna say thank you guys, thank you sa lahat ng sumuporta sa amin, sorry na we fell short," he added.

"Kayang-kaya, pero wala eh. Kinapos."