‘Bright’move by UP in UAAP basketball
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.
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.