MANILA, Philippines – Bright Akhuetie has certainly earned himself some well-deserved time off to recharge after powering the University of the Philippines’ historic UAAP men’s basketball run.
So while many UP fans have gone all excited for next season, the newly crowned season MVP doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
“Let’s wait and see,” said Akhuetie after the Maroons, who reached the Finals for the first time in 32 years, settled for a runner-up finish against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
“I [actually] can’t wait but I need to take it one step at a time – I need to be healthier and I’m gonna get lost after all the school work.
“I’m gonna get lost in the province and hide from the world [to] rest and get myself back, then I can talk about next season. But for now, basketball [is a] no, I just need to go back and finish the stuff I left in school.”
Although the Maroons fell short, Akhuetie chose to look back at their campaign with content, while admitting that UP needs to work harder to come back in better form next season.
“We exceeded [expectations] because they never thought we’d make it [to the Finals] with the way we started the season,” the Nigerian big man said of the Maroons, who at one point, held a 3-5 record.
“But we made it to the Finals, baby! So yeah, I say we did great and all we have to do is work harder, come back, and try to get that chip.”
Akhuetie also thanked the UP crowd for their overwhelming support in the series, citing it as a major factor that helped the team head home with their heads held high.
"We just have to keep our head up, we love those people and they love us too,” said Akhuetie, who's set to return next season with an even more formidable cast that includes standout recruits Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras.
“If they can still cheer for us after that kind of game, man, what else can we say. We have to be proud of ourselves and what we’ve achieved so far.” – Jason Santos/Rappler.com