By Jerome Lagunzad
University of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol believes that touted center Bright Akhuetie should be in his tip-top shape if he intends to help the Fighting Maroons make some noise in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament in September.
Perasol admitted that the 6-foot-7 Nigerian still has a lot of catching up to do in terms of getting himself on his ideal playing weight that had made him as one of the dominant big men in the collegiate ranks when he suited up for Perpetual Help in the NCAA for two years.
“He still needs to lose some weight. Not because that he’s fat, but he has become more muscular since he started lifting weights when he returned to the country from Nigeria last January,” the amiable Fighting Maroons tactician told Tempo-Bulletin in an interview yesterday.
Akhuetie, 21, himself disclosed that he has not yet reached his usual playing weight of 115 kilograms—or around 250 pounds. “I’m still working on it,” admitted the two-time member of the NCAA Mythical Team.
Perasol, however, is far from being worried. “He’s not fat as he may look. In fact, his body fat is just nine (percent). It’s just that he has become muscular since he is lifting heavier weights that much,” he said.
“I told him that he doesn’t need to make himself stronger because he’s already strong. He just needs to protect himself from any injuries. We’re starting to make some adjustments in terms of his training regimen.”
With a possible training camp abroad and several pre-season tournaments on tap, Perasol is confident that Akhuetie—and the rest of the Fighting Maroons—will peak at the right time for the newest UAAP wars where they will come in as one of the top title contenders.
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