Akhuetie, UP looking to oust UST quickly: ‘We don’t want to take chances’
MANILA, Philippines—On its way to No. 2, University of the Philippines defeated every team in the league during the elimination round of UAAP Season 82 except for two—University of Santo Tomas and defending champion Ateneo.
But Season 81’s runner-up has a chance to exorcise one of its demons in the Final Four with the Fighting Maroons, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, looking to oust the Growling Tigers.
Former MVP Bright Akhuetie said the team is hell-bent in taking that one win to get to a finals rematch with the Blue Eagles.
“We lost in the elimination, we lost the two games, but we want to get that win to make it to the finals,” said Akhuetie Saturday at Epsilon Chi Center in UP Diliman.
“This is a different level and you know everybody’s going to come out hard. We don’t want to take chances and you just want to go out there and finish the first game.”
UST swept UP in the eliminations and won the two games with an average of 11 points.
Experience-wise, the Fighting Maroons hold the advantage after they went to the finals in Season 81 before losing to eventual champion Ateneo, while the Growling Tigers haven’t been to the Final Four since 2015.
Akhuetie, however, doesn’t see a Finals appearance in 2018 as an advantage and that his matchup against 2019 MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo wouldn’t matter in the grander scheme of things.
“We have to go out there, and you know give it your best and play like it’s your last game,” said Akhuetie. “We’re just going to play basketball, that’s how it is, that’s what it will be. We just have to go out there and give our best to represent the school and the community.”