Much has been expected of Collins Akowe at National University Nazareth School.
In this crop of high school prospects, the Nigerian big man is one of the tallest in the field, standing at 6-foot-10.
However, people are forgetting that he is just a blossoming player.
In fact, he just turned 18 on Tuesday.
And Akowe was glad to be able to celebrate his birthday with a win after towing the Bullpups to an 81-73 victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles, moving them to solo second.
“I’m really happy. Like coach (Kevin de Castro) said, this game is not what we expected, but a win is a win,” said Akowe, who dropped 15 points, 21 rebounds, and four blocks in the game.
Though his numbers have been dominant, Akowe has yet to reach his peak.
Well, he is still far from it.
Akowe grew up playing football and only discovered basketball during the pandemic.
Moreover, it was only last year when he arrived at NUNS.
“The coaches have been good. They made me realize my potential. When I came here, I was not like this,” he shared.
Seeing triple and even quadruple teams is something he has braced for since suiting up for the Bullpups during the preseason.
“I would say I’ve been looking forward to it since I came here, and it’s a great experience,” he said.
“I expected that three or four guys would be defending me.”
De Castro is glad to have an anchor like Akowe in his team as they look to bring the crown back to NUNS.
“Yung impact niya medyo malaki. Hindi lang sa offense kung hindi sa defense din. Kahit papano, naa-anchor niya kami,” said the youthful head coach.
For his part, Akowe vows that he will give his all to fulfill what is expected of him.
“My goal for the team is to bring back the championship. I can’t say the future, but I hope we get there.”