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Kitty Duterte: A Significant Part of Evan Nelle’s UAAP Championship Journey

MANILA, Philippines — Evan Nelle had a fairytale ending to his three-season UAAP career and he celebrated his first and last championship with La Salle with a warm hug from Kitty Duterte, who has been rumored to be his special someone.

Nelle helped La Salle end a seven-year championship drought by staving off University of the Philippines in a winner-take-all Game 3 with a 73-69 victory to rule the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball championship in front of a record 25,192 crowd on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After Nelle earned his championship, Kitty, the daughter of former President Rodrigo Duterte, entered the court to congratulate and embrace the graduating Green Archer.

Although Nelle didn’t reveal the real score between them, he expressed his gratitude to Duterte, who has been with him on his journey.

“She’s been with me through my journey. She helped me. I thank her a lot. She keeps me sane and happy,” Nelle told reporters.

Graduating La Salle guard Even Nelle in the UAAP men’s basketball finals. –MARLO CUETO/

Their sweet moment has been the talk of town on social media with the fans naming their love team as “KitNelle.”

The La Salle court general admitted that he is aware of the memes that are tagging him as the “bravest man” for spending time with the daughter of the ex-president, who was known as a strict disciplinarian and strong man during his term.

“It’s funny every time I open Facebook, it’s always…like you know what I won’t spend time on Facebook na. It’s really funny but to see it every day, there’s always something new. Sabi ko, ayoko na. Iba naman,” he said.

Nelle also thanked the La Salle faithful among the record-breaking gate attendance, who witnessed their historic 10th championship.

“I always heard about the UAAP crowd but this one is wild. Experiencing it in person, it’s just surreal,” Nelle said.

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December 6, 2023