MANILA, Philippines – After a year of anticipation, Nigerian big man Bright Akhuetie finally has a UAAP game under his belt with the UP Fighting Maroons.
In his first game donning the maroon and white, he finished with 15 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks in 30 minutes as the retooled UP squad routed the UE Red Warriors, 87-58. (READ: New-look UP wrecks UE in UAAP Season 81 opener)
The 6-foot-7 bruiser was still a bully in the post, just like he was in the NCAA with the Perpetual Help Altas.
While most players would consider that a peak-form performance, Akhuetie does not.
“Not yet, not yet,” he said post-game with a smile. “I was just feeling good with my game, but not yet.”
Akhuetie told reporters during the FilOil Preaseason Cup that he was “at 70%” – which was about a month before the team flew to Serbia for training.
UP head coach Bo Perasol chimed in on how he grades his ward after his debut.
“I think 71%,” he joked as Akhuetie burst out laughing.
But on a serious note, the affable big man knows that the Maroons have a long way to go despite their 29-point rout of the Warriors.
“We can’t really get too excited right now,” he said. “It’s just the first game. We just have to go back and work harder and see how it all will go.”
"This is just the start," Perasol added. "I'm just happy that we're able to get this win and I hope that we could capitalize on this momentum that we have."
The future is bright, as the hype for him always tells. But for Akhuetie himself, it can be much, much brighter down the line. – Rappler.com