ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons may have strengthened their hold of 2nd place, but the inconsistent showing in their wins has left reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie puzzled.
“I really don't get it. We tend to relax in the 3rd and 4th quarters which is not a good way to go about games this season,” said Akhuetie after the Maroons again hacked out a grind-out 62-56 win against the UE Red Warriors in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday, September 21.
“Everyone is a top dog, everyone goes out there and [fights] to get it. We can't be like that and we have to finish the same way we start.”
Although toting a 4-1 card behind unbeaten Ateneo, the Maroons could have very well been holding a 1-4 slate if not for their 3 straight, down-to-the-wire victories.
Aside from Akhuetie, only Kobe Paras and Javi Gomez de Liaño have been among the few bright spots in UP’s star-studded roster that also includes Season 81 Mythical Five selection Juan Gomez de Liaño and former UAAP champion Ricci Rivero.
Akhuetie – who averaged 15.8 points plus a team-high 12.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 5 games – doesn’t mind to keep on delivering the goods.
But he knows that more of his teammates need to be consistent as the Maroons can’t afford to underestimate any opponent in this roller-coaster season already full of comebacks and close calls.
“Seriously, every game is going to be tough. But this feels good since we are at 4-1,” he said. “Every matchup is gonna be tough. It goes the same way. You just have to play basketball and fight until the end.” – Rappler.com