Donít worry, Perpetual has a plan in place to replace the Bright light
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 04, 2017 07:30 PM
NEVER BACK DOWN. Perpetual isn't taking any step back even with the exit of Nigerian powerhouse Bright Akhuetie.
HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 11-7, 4th place (Final Four)
YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Gab Dagangon, Keith Pido, Prince Eze
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: CJ Casas
GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Bright Akhuetie
The lights have dimmed in Las Pinas with the exit of Bright Akhuetie.
Instead of falling asleep, however, University of Perpetual Help has actually woken up.
“Nagising kami lahat, especially the locals, na kailangan nang magtrabaho. Sa totoo lang, sobrang umasa kami kay Bright e,” head coach Jimwell Gican said. “So now, it’s time na gawin na namin lahat yung mga role namin. Ang mindset na namin ngayon, lahat, dapat magtrabaho.”
Seven months since the Nigerian’s transfer northward, the Altas are adamant that they are all ready to move on without him. As Gican put it, “Nakapag-adjust na kami. Tanggap na namin talaga ang sitwasyon at kailangang double-time kami.”
And mind you, they plan not just to move on, but also plan to keep contending without him. “Nag-e-enjoy lang kami ngayon, pero pinapatunayan din namin na kahit wala si Bright, kaya namin,” pointman Keith Pido said.
He then continued, “Tingin namin, kayang-kaya pa rin naman naming mag-Final Four kasi nga, nag-e-enjoy and masaya lang kami lahat.”
The Perpetual head coach could only agree. “Ngayon, ipapakita namin na kahit wala si Bright, kaya naming bumalik sa Final Four,” he said.
All of their plans would have to begin with their veterans who have wasted no time in rallying their troops.
That would all have tos tart with the veterans who have wasted no time in rallying their troops. “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,” Gican said.
He then continued, “Sa kanila nagsimula yung magandang relasyon kaya naging pamilya kami, sa kanila magsisimula yung magandang gagawin namin sa season.”
Alongside them, the Altas will also have, for the first time in years, rookies ready and raring to make an immediate impact. “Ang malaking bagay sa amin, meron nang backup si Keith. Ngayong nandyan na si CJ (Casas), ‘di na masyadong magiging pagod si Keith,” Gican said.
Pointman Casas and off-guard Robbie Clemente will be the backcourt for Perpetual’s second unit and are expected to provide even more helping hands.
Indeed, Akhuetie may no longer be there, but the Altas will still have all of the other key cogs in their Final Four finish a year ago. “Since nakapasok na kami ng Final Four, ang next step namin, matapos na sana hanggang championship,” Gican mused.
And why couldn’t they? After all, last season, they lost “Mr. Triple-Double” Scottie Thompson and then proceeded to take eventual champion San Beda College to the limit.
Whatever will happen, one thing is already sure for Perpetual. “Ready na. Ready na kami this season,” Gican said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.