In his last year, the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles’ center Chibueze Ikeh is making sure that his final run will be memorable.
The Nigerian student-athlete has emerged as one of the key cogs in the Katipunan team’s bid to reach the Promised Land anew, best typified by his impressive performance in the Blue Eagles’ last two games.
For helping Ateneo reach a league-best 6-0 record and for showing he has what it takes, Ikeh earned his first UAAP Press Corps Chooks-to-Go Player of the Week award during the span of September 25-October 1.
Ikeh beat the Adamson University’s Papi Sarr and the Far Eastern University pair of Ron Dennison and Arvin Tolentino for the weekly individual plum.
Using his height and heft advantage to the hilt, the 6-foot-7 Ikeh averaged 12.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, and 1.5 bpg last week.
Against the University of Santo Tomas last Wednesday, Ikeh scored seven points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and had three assists and two steals as the Blue Eagles subdued the Growling Tigers 94-84.
Three days later, Ikeh scattered a career-high-tying 18 points to go with 11 caroms, and two blocks in Ateneo’s 96-83 drubbing of the National University Bulldogs.
Ikeh has also showcased a new facet of his game when he took — and buried — two three pointers against the Bulldogs last Saturday.
“Coaches have been teaching me other facets of the game such as shooting, dribbling. I just found myself open and I just had to shoot it and went in,” Ikeh said. “I’m not feeling any pressure. It’s just a game. If I miss, that’s okay.
“My coaches are teaching me every aspect of the game and that’s giving me the confidence I need.”
Ateneo’s coaching staff, led by former Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin, were not surprised when Ikeh tried to extend his range because they had given him the go-signal to do so.
“We aren’t surprised.
“The coaches have been giving him (Ikeh) the green light to shoot if he has a good rhythm to shoot it,” said assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga.