Ikeh’s shows off 3-point stroke, Blue Eagles not surprised
Ateneo center Chibueze Ikeh may be the biggest guy in the Blue Eagles roster but had never been the team’s center of attention.
Ikeh, though, has been turning heads this UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament and 6-foot-8 big man gave something more to talk about when he tied his career-high of 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting that went along with 11 boards.
But it wasn’t just a career game as Ikeh also showcased his deft shooting that’s been unknown until the Blue Eagles’ sixth win in the tournament.
Ikeh shot two-of-two from deep against the Bulldogs, the first time the Blue Eagle converted from beyond the arc.
“The coaches have been teaching me the other facets of the game like shooting, dribbling, and when I found myself open I just had to shoot it and it went in,’ said Ikeh at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ikeh’s first three happened in the second quarter to give Ateneo a 36-33 lead before converting his second triple in the third period to put the Blue Eagles up 66-57.
Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga saw nothing new with Ikeh’s newfound skill, saying his center would usually spend extra time in practice just to train that stroke.
“We weren’t surprised, the coaches have been giving him the green light to shoot, he has a good rhythm to shoot it,” said Arespacochaga. “He shot a couple in the past and people were surprised that he even attempted but we’ve seen him shoot in practice and he’s been knocking it down.”
Ikeh is now a career 50 percent shooter from the field after he attempted his first two in Season 78.