Akhuetie, Paras, Rivero back for UP in UAAP Season 83
MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines’ big guns will be back for another year in hopes to finish what they started.
Bright Akhuetie, Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero on Sunday confirmed their return with the Fighting Maroons for the 83rd Season of the UAAP.
Coming back wasn’t really a hard decision to make for the three stars.
“After our last game, we talked about it and Kobe and Ricci said if I’m game for another season, they would be game, too,” said Akhuetie, who bagged the UAAP MVP award in just his first season with UP in Season 81.
“So me, no question, I want to come back for another year and have another opportunity to win the championship for UP. Like they say, there’s nowhere to go but UP,” he added.
The UP community and the management’s efforts to establish a “winning culture” convinced Paras to give it another go.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again, every game felt like a home game because of the UP crowd. Didn’t matter where we played, they were there in full force and it was amazing,” said the young Paras, whose father Benjie is set to join the team as an assistant coach.
“it’s also clear to us that Coach Bo and management want to build a winning culture here in UP, and we want to continue to be a part of that.”
Rivero, meanwhile, felt getting the band back together for another run is also a way for them to give back to the school and its supporters.
“We just want to do this for the community and for all those who believe in the team. So many people have gone all in to support the team and we feel the same way—we’re all in.”
With Akhuetie, Paras and Rivero back, UP hopes to finally get over the hump in Season 83 after coming off a Final Four exit last season and a finals loss the year before.
Aside from PBA legend Benjie Paras, also joining head coach Bo Perasol’s staff are Ronnie Magsanoc, Joey Guanio, and Xavier Nunag.