Bright Akhuetie bags UAAP Season 81 MVP plum

Beatrice Go
Bright Akhuetie bags UAAP Season 81 MVP plum


The UP Fighting Maroons' Nigerian center is crowned MVP in his first year in the UAAP

MANILA, Philippines – After leading the University of the Philippines (UP) to end its 21-year Final Four drought, Bright Akhuetie nabbed the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. 

Akhuetie becomes the first MVP from UP in 32 years after Eric Altamirano in 1986, when the Fighting Maroons won their lone championship.

The Fighting Maroons’ Nigerian center tallied a total of 82.5 statistical points (SPs) to lead the race and edge out Ateneo’s Ivorian rookie Angelo Kouame who came in second wth 76.2 SPs.

Due to the enforcement of the rule that only one foreign student-athlete can be included in the Mythical Five, Kouame would give up his spot, allowing Jerrick Ahanmisi – who came in 6th – to make it to the top 5 players of the season.  

University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol (74.57), UP’s Juan Gomez de Liaño (63.86), La Salle’s Justine Baltazar (61.29), and Adamson’s Ahanmisi (58.38) rounded out this season’s Mythical Five along with Akhuetie. 

In 2016, the 22-year-old Nigerian was a highly coveted transferee from the NCAA’s Perpetual Help as UP, Ateneo, and La Salle were in a dogfight to recruit him. 

However, Akhuetie eventually chose UP and served his one-year residency in the State U to debut in Season 81. He became a vital cog to help lead the Fighting Maroons’ mission of clinching another title. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.