Never forget that Ibrahim Ouattara set it all up for Bright Akhuetie in UP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 15, 2017 04:05 PM
Never forget that Ouattara set it all up for Akhuetie in UP
Ibrahim Ouattara's one-and-done season raised the bar for UP's foreign student-athletes

The University of the Philippines fell short of the Final Four for the second straight season.

It was another chapter in the league’s longest playoff drought, but it was an encouraging sign nonetheless.

For the second year in a row, the Fighting Maroons lived up to their name.

And perhaps, not one State U player gave his all to the fight more than Ibrahim Ouattara.

Averaging 7.4 points in 48.9 percent shooting on top of 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, he was the much-needed inside presence to give his all in all things for the likes of Paul Desiderio, Jun Manzo, and Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan.

After all, for the Malinese, it’s just his second nature to give his all in all things. “First, I’m thankful for playing in this league. Here in the Philippines, it’s like the dream of every player to be able to play in the collegiate level,” he said.

In the end, he has no doubt that he gave his all in his first and last season.

Next season, prized prospect Bright Akhuetie will be the foreign student-athlete suiting up for UP.

Akhuetie, a Nigerian powerhouse who carried University of Perpetual Help to the NCAA Final Four, raises the ceiling of the Fighting Maroons.

He can only do that, however, because Ouattara helped establish the pillars for the program.

Ouattara is nothing but certain Akhuetie will live up to the hype. “Everyone knows that Bright is a great player and the coaches know that they are doing and will make the right decision,” he said.

He then continued, “Whether it’s me or it’s Bright, it’s still for the good of UP.”

Now that his time in maroon and green is over, the now 24-year-old Ouattara just wants the State U community to remember that he gave his all for them. “Everything I worked hard for to be part of the team, the community found a way to make it happen. I feel really lucky and I’m really thankful,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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