After spending two fruitful years in University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, Nigerian student-dribblers Prince Eze and Bright Akhuetie find themselves thriving in the respective paths they have chosen. Moreover, the once-formidable duo have been dominant.
Eze, a 6-foot-10 big man, is set to win the NCAA Season 94 Seniors Basketball Most Valuable Player crown after posting norms of 17.9 points, 16.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks to tow the Altas to the Final Four.
For his part, and with the way things are going, the 6-foot-8 Akhuetie is miles ahead in the MVP race of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball tournament. With averages of 18.6 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, only a disqualifying foul would void his chances of taking the top individual crown of the league.
And Akhuetie is the least surprised to see his good friend find success without him.
“He’s always been good, even last season he was, but he didn’t make it to the Final Four,” shared Akhuetie. Even though Eze had averages 14.5 points, 17.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game last year, he did not qualify for the MVP race as the Altas only had three wins.
“All I have to say is his hard work finally paid off and he really deserves it.”
The two had found success together in Perpetual.
After not making it to the Final Four back in Season 91 of the NCAA, the two lifted Perpetual to a semifinals finish a year later with Akhuetie averaging 17.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per contest, while Eze tallying norms of 5.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks.
However, Akhuetie had to leave Perpetual during the off-season of that year, citing irreconcilable differences with Altas consultant Nosa Omorogbe.
With Akhuetie out, Eze took the cudgels of leading the Altas. Moreover, he was able to learn how to settle down in his final year with decorated head coach Frankie Lim at the helm.
“I am very happy for the team cause of their performance. Of course, the work that coach Frankie Lim did with the team is amazing. He brought them that far,” shared Akhuetie, who is still keeping tabs on his old school. “It’s really good. I really like it.
“For him (Eze) winning the MVP, we all know he would have wanted a championship more, but I think that just shows that he’s doing great.”
By the end of the year, Perpetual could produce two MVPs in the two top collegiate leagues in the country. But Akhuetie is not setting his sights on an individual award, as the Fighting Maroons are currently in the midst of a tight Final Four race.
“Let’s just watch and see.”
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