With UP faithful in mind, Bright Akhuetie pushes past pain to deliver huge shot | Inquirer Sports

With UP faithful in mind, Bright Akhuetie pushes past pain to deliver huge shot

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 06:19 PM November 29, 2018

Bright Akhuetie knew that playing through some pain was just a small price to pay for him to help University of the Philippines get to the finals of the UAAP for the first time since 1986.

UP’s hulking center fought through cramps the whole second half and overtime in the Fighting Maroons’ 89-87 win over Adamson University in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Final Four—a minor inconvenience for a major achievement.


If not for Akhuetie’s persistence, the Fighting Maroons may have just seen their finals hopes crumble but the soon-to-be-crowned league MVP knew he couldn’t let his teammates let alone the thousands of UP supporters who packed Smart Araneta Coliseum down.


“I was very tired during the game, I was cramping and that’s what slowed me down, and the moment I put pressure on my right leg I felt it coming back again,” said Akhuetie who played for 38 minutes and had 13 points and 17 rebounds.

There were several instances when Akhutie visibly struggled with his movements before cramping up in the third quarter, paving way for the Soaring Falcons to gain momentum for on a 23-4 run to take a 67-64 lead heading into the fourth.

Adamson and UP then traded shot after shot in the fourth in a heartstopping fashion before the Fighting Maroons eventually gutted out the win in overtime thanks to no small part to Akhuetie’s heart.

Fatigued and pained, Akhuetie grabbed the offensive board and scored on layup that tied the game at 84-84 with 1:09 left and that was the precursor to Paul Desiderio’s two straight baskets that sealed the win for UP.

“I was fighting with myself, struggling with myself and I was just thinking ‘you have to do it’ because this wasn’t the right time to stop so I just pushed through,” said Akhuetie. “God gave me the strength, the coaches and the community. Look at everybody out there, you just can’t give up on them.”

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TAGS: Bright Akhuetie, Sports, UAAP Season 81, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons

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