‘Bright’move by UP in UAAP bas­ket­ball

Sun.Star Pampanga - - SHOW! -

THERE we go again: De­pen­dence on Afri cans to win a UAAP bas­ket­ball ti­tle. Lis­ten to Bo Pera­sol, the former coach in the Philip­pine Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion who is now men­tor of the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines-Dil­i­man in UAAP bas­ket­ball: “It’s the only way we can turn around the progr am.”

Only w ay.

And Per asol ’s only w ay?

Get­ting Bright Akhuetie o n boar d.

“Bright” idea.

A 6foot-8 cen­ter, Akhuetie is the Nige­rian two-time Myth­i­cal Five mem­ber in the UAAP’s ri­val, the NCAA.

Turn around the pro­gram, oc­ca­sioned by UP’s win­less streak since 1986.

Coach Joe Lipa had won it for UP through his deadly duo of Ron­nie “Point Lau­re­ate” Magsanoc and Ben­jie “The Tower of Power” Paras, plus the ven­er­a­ble Eric Al­tami­rano.

UP’s ti­tle-drought has been that long and “the pro­gram”— re­liance on home­grown tal­ent— has be­come ob­so­lete? An African is the cure? San Beda had pi­o­neered in it, string­ing up ti­tles through Sam Ekwe’s break­through African in­va­sion.

Tak­ing the cue from San Beda, vir­tu­ally all NCAA schools quickly en­listed Africans into their line-ups.

But how come Le­tran won in 2015 on mainly Filipino tal­ents?

As a re­sult, Le­tran’s win­ning coach Aldin Ayo earned a lu­cra­tive coach­ing stint at La Sal l e.

Ayo de­liv­ered, win­ning it for La Salle in 2016 but, iron­i­cally, through an­other African im­port.

Ob­vi­ously, UP is tired hug­ging the UAAP cel­lar and Pera­sol thought Akhuetie is now the only way for the Ma­roons to re­claim glory.

But that will not ma­te­ri­al­ize this Sea­son 80 of the UAAP, which will blast off in Sept em ber.

Akhuetie, av­er­at­ing 17.6 points and 12.1 re­bounds a game in his two-year stint with Per­pet­ual, needs a one-year res­i­dency be­fore he could wear the UP jersey in 2018.

Des­per­ate times need des­per­ate measu r es?

But ac­quir­ing Akhuetie isn’t only des­per­a­tion at its ugli­est, it is also ap­pallingly nau­se­at­ing as it only val­i­dates the crooked mind­set that one must do ev­ery­thing just to win a crown.

Akhuetie’s ar­rival at UP would de­prive of play­ing time, of a chance to im­prove, an­other home­grown Ma­roon set to be dis­placed by Akhuetie next year.

One word to de­scribe the Akhuetie re­cruit­ment? “Bright.” Au­thored yet by an in­sti­tu­tion as re­spected as UP it­self. Bright.

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