For 'brothers' Lastimosa and Nelle, rivalry stays only on the court

Aeron Gabriel V. Pantig

Posted at Dec 06 2022 09:30 AM | Updated as of Dec 06 2022 09:55 AM

Adamson point guard Jerom Lastimosa sees a 'brother' in La Salle counterpart Evan Nelle. George Calvelo and Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Adamson point guard Jerom Lastimosa sees a 'brother' in La Salle counterpart Evan Nelle. George Calvelo and Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

When asked who is currently the best point guard in the UAAP, Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa and La Salle’s Evan Nelle were quick to deflect praise.

Throughout the UAAP Season 85 elimination round, the Soaring Falcons floor general and the Green Archers playmaker left everything on the floor. But unknown to many, Lastimosa and Nelle share a bond that only competitors will understand.

"Evan is my brother. Talagang tinuturing ko siya na parang brother talaga. On and off the court nag-uusap talaga kami about sa game," Lastimosa shared in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN Sports.

The stars aligned on Sunday night at Mall of Asia Arena to determine who among the two point guards can lead his team to greater heights.

In the do-or-die match that saw Lastimosa and Nelle drop 22 points apiece, it was the Soaring Falcons that came up on top and secured the last ticket to the Final Four, 80-76.

"Before this game sabi niya, ibigay ko raw ‘tong game na ‘to…Sabi ko naman, maawa ka naman sa’min, almost four years kaming ‘di nag-Final Four," the 5-foot-10 Lastimosa shared.

With their tournament lives on the line, Nelle and Lastimosa did not just show out but also tested each other's patience to gain any advantage they could give to their respective teams. 

"Kanina, nag-uusap kami kasi parang hindi niya tanggap na foul talaga siya doon sa tinira kong three-points … Sabi niya, alam mo na walang foul. Sabi ko, alam mo rin na foul kitang-kita sa camera tignan mo," the Dumaguete native recalled. 

As Mark Nonoy’s go-ahead triple missed and the Green Archers’ Season 85 campaign came to a bitter end, the former San Beda Red Lion had praise only for Lastimosa, who played through pain.

"Sabi niya sa’kin, ‘You’re the best, man. The best ka talaga, promise’ …Sabi niya talunin daw namin Ateneo," said Lastimosa, who is yet to fully recover from a right foot injury.

On the other hand, Lastimosa recognized what Nelle has done for La Salle, which missed the services of its key players Schonny Winston, Mike Philipps, and Kevin Quiambao in the knockout game. 

"Evan is a great point guard. Grabe, may puso talaga si Evan. I think malayo ang mararating niya."