UP's Bright Akhuetie to receive UAAP Season 81 MVP award

Bright Akhuetie of the UP Fighting Maroons is set to be named the UAAP's Most Valuable Player for Season 81.

The 6-foot-7 center out of Nigeria ended up with 82.5 SPs (Statistical Points) after finishing the elimination round with 18.9 points on 60.5 percent field goal shooting, 14.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks. More than the gaudy numbers, Akhuetie was one of the catalysts that propelled UP to its first Final Four appearance in 21 years.

Right behind Akhuetie was the Ateneo Blue Eagles' breakout first-year player Angelo Kouame. The Ivorian finished second in the statistical race with 76.2 SPs with averages of 14.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. However, despite being second to Akhuetie, Kouame will not be part of the Mythical Five because of a league rule insisting that only one foreign student-athlete can be part of the Mythical Selection.

Kouame, however, will still take home Rookie of the Year honors, edging UST's Cansino. Kouame, despite being a foreign student-athlete, is fresh out of high school and completed his studies at the Multiple Intelligence International School before going to Ateneo.

Completing the Mythical Five are Alvin Pasaol of the UE Red Warriors (74.5 SPs), Akhuetie's teammate in UP Juan Gomez De Liaño (63.8 SPs), Justine Baltazar of the DLSU Green Archers (61.2 SPs), and Jerrick Ahanmisi of the Adamson Falcons (58.3).

Pasaol capped off what could be his final UAAP year with 24.4 points, the second highest scoring average since 2003, next to Ben Mbala's 26.0.

Gomez De Liaño, last season's Rookie of the Year, continued to impress in his sophomore season. He filled the stat sheet with 16.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. He also came off the bench the last six games of the Fighting Maroons, providing the spark for the team's second unit.

Baltazar finally came through for the Green Archers this season. He was a consistent force for his squad, putting up 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

For second-seeded Falcons, Ahanmisi came out as the team's top-scorer with 18.0 points on an efficient 44.1 shooting clip.

Akhuetie is the first Fighting Maroon to earn the MVP award since Fort Acuña won in 1968.