By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
WHILE no longer playing under their wings, the Perpetual Help Altas still support Nigerian player Bright Akhuetie and congratulate the latter for his impending most valuable player award in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
Left the Altas at the end of Season 92 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association to play in the UAAP with the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, Akhuetie is still appreciated by Perpetual Help, whom he helped to two Final Four appearances in his three seasons with the Las Piñas-based school.
“We congratulate our former Perpetual Help student and player Bright Akhuetie for his accomplishments,” said NCAA and Perpetual Help president Anthony Tamayo in a statement.
Akhuetie, who is playing in his first year with UP after serving residency for a year, has averaged 18.9 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals in the ongoing season of the UAAP while helping the Maroons reach their first Final Four appearance after a two-decade drought.
The Nigerian collected 82.5 total statistical points, beating Ange Kouame of defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles who finished with 76.21 SPs.
Akhuetie and the Maroons are to play the Adamson Soaring Falcons in the Final Four beginning on Saturday.
While happy for Akhuetie and proud of what he has accomplished outside Perpetual Help, the Altas also underscored that he is the third MVP that came out of the school’s basketball program.
Akhuetie joins former teammate Prince Eze and Scottie Thompson as NCAA MVP winners.
Eze was adjudged the top player in the just-concluded Season 94 of the NCAA while the now-professional Thompson won his in Season 90 of the countries longest-standing collegiate league.
Mr. Tamayo said their players’ success was attributable to the school’s ever-evolving basketball program.
He went on to say that they hope to build on the season they just had under coach Frankie Lim, where they were able to return to the Final Four.
“The team overachieved this season and we are optimistic we will continue to improve and hopefully win our very first senior basketball championship,” said Mr. Tamayo.