NOT even Felix Apreku is safe from the watchful eyes of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League when it comes to citizenship.
Apreku came under scrutiny for being a Fil-Foreigner right before Muntinlupa’s 86-74 win over Mandaluyong on Wednesday night, but was all focused once he got the green light to play.
The 6-foot-2 forward – born in Israel but grew up in Northern Samar – played like a true “import” as he hauled down 16 boards to go along with 10 points, showcasing the same fire and grit that he had during Letran’s improbable NCAA title run in Season 91.
That type of performance had fans of the opposing team questioning his nationality, but Apreku is having none of it.
“Hindi ko po alam yung ganun kasi ‘di ko alam yung issue. Focus lang po ako sa game,” said Apreku, who’s had to deal with questions regarding his citizenship ever since he won the championship in the NCAA.
“Alam naman natin yan. Sa Letran pa lang tayo. Pinipilit nila. Haters gonna hate,” he said with a smile.
Undersized at the four spot, Apreku’s nose for the ball and high-octane energy make up for his lack of ceiling, making him a valuable contributor for the Cagers.
Apreku insisted that his focus is on finishing what the team started last conference when it lost to Batangas in four games in the finals.
“Focus lang ako sa game ko. Gutom na gutom kami dahil sa nangyari sa amin last conference na natalo kami sa championship,” Apreku said.
With Muntinlupa adding some valuable young pieces like Reggie Basibas, Chester Saldua and Jamil Ortouste, Apreku is confident that they can go all the way this time around.
“Oo. Last conference, wala kaming katulong, pagod kami lagi ni Chito (Jaime), ngayon may nakuha kaming pang-back up sa amin. Kunwari malas, may papalit sa amin tulad nila Basibas, Saldua at Ortouste."