UAAP 81 MVP Akhuetie gives credit to Desiderio's sacrifice for UP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 05, 2018 03:46 PM
MVP Akhuetie gives credit to Desiderio's sacrifice for UP
Bright Akhuetie says UP's magical Season 81 would not have been possible without the leadership of team captain Paul Desiderio.

It’s official – Bright Akhuetie is the MVP of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Nigerian powerhouse finally hoisted his trophy on Wednesday right before Game 2 of the Finals, serenaded by loud and proud chants from the University of the Philippines’ faithful inside the Araneta Coliseum.

He is the first top individual player to hail from Diliman in 32 years.

Akhuetie has been the MVP leader all throughout the season and ended the elimination round with per game counts of 18.9 points, 14.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.1 steals. More than that, he was also a key cog in the Fighting Maroons’ first playoff berth in 21 years – and then their first Finals appearance since 1986.

That was more than enough for him to accumulate 82.50 Statistical Points (SPs) and more than enough to for him to have a six-point edge over his closest competitor.

For the 6-foot-8 big man, however, all of that wouldn’t have been possible if not for the leadership of State U skipper Paul Desiderio. “I want to thank Paul because he did a really great job for all of this to happen. He used to be the man of the team so for him to step down and to get everybody involved was huge,” he told reporters.

Indeed, in the tournament, Desiderio has allowed Akhuetie as well as second-year stud Juan Gomez de Liano to shine under the spotlight as he busied himself with leading the team.

Akhuetie and Juan GDL wound up as Season MVP and Mythical selection, respectively. “What Paul Did was great,” the former said.

And for UP’s man in the middle, that sacrifice should have been more than enough to put their team captain on the Mythical Five. As he put it, “Sayang no, he didn’t make it to the Mythical Five, but he did great.”

Joining Akhuetie and Juan GDL in the Mythical Five are University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol, De La Salle University’s Justine Baltazar, and Adamson University’s Jerrick Ahanmisi.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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