It has been half a year since Bright Akhuetie left University of Perpetual Help.
And until now, the Altas are still stinging from his leaving.
“Nung una po, siyempre, hirap na hirap kami sa adjustment kasi siyempre, malaking kawalan si Bright sa amin,” pointman Keith Pido shared in the recently-concluded 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. “Actually, hanggang ngayon, step-by-step yung pag-a-adjust namin.”
Even with his unceremonious exit, the Las Pinas-based squad still acknowledges how big a part the Nigerian played in their last two seasons. As head coach Jimwell Gican put it, “Nung una, siyempre, low morale talaga mga players kasi malaking tulong si Bright kaya nakapasok kami ulit sa Final Four e.”
However, Perpetual also still acknowledges that it can keep contending even without Akhuetie. “Hindi naman pwedeng hanggang dun lang kami. Nadapa kami kaya kailangang bumangon ulit,” the mentor expressed.
And just how exactly will the Altas recover from a six-foot-eight powerhouse leaving?
Through total team effort, of course.
“Nung umalis si Bright, we just stayed as one. Actually, ‘di na nga kami team e,” Gican shared. “Yun ang malaking bagay na nangyari sa amin – nung umalis si Bright, naging pamilya kami.”
Yes, instead of breaking apart, Perpetual has actually become more united as all of them try to fill up the massive void that Akhuetie left behind. “Nagising kami lahat, especially the locals, na kailangan nang magtrabaho. Sa totoo lang, sobrang umasa kami kay Bright e,” Gican said.
He then continued, “So now, it’s time na gawin na namin lahat yung mga role namin. Ang mindset na namin ngayon, lahat, dapat magtrabaho.”
In particular, it has been the graduating players who have, as they should, taken the lead. “Yung mga seniors namin, sila yung nag-umpisa. Si Gab Dagangon, si Keith (Pido), si GJ Ylagan, si Flash Sadiwa, sila na talaga ang mag-a-anchor sa amin ngayong season,” the head coach gladly narrated.
He then continued, “Sa kanila nagsimula yung magandang relasyon kaya naging pamilya kami, sa kanila magsisimula yung magandang gagawin namin sa season.”
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