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    Akhuetie so happy to see 'real' Desiderio show up for Maroons

    Oct 24, 2018
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    WHEN Bright Akhuetie made the jump from Perpetual to University of the Philippines, he knew exactly what Paul Desiderio can bring to the table.

    After seeing Desiderio struggle to find his rhythm for much of the season, Akhuetie was glad to see the Cebuano gunner back in lethal form in the Fighting Maroons’ 95-82 win over Far Eastern University on Wednesday.

    Desiderio finished with a career best 31 points behind a 7-of-9 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, which went along with his four assists and two steals.

    Prior to this game, the 5-11 combo guard was averaging just 11.9 points on 20 percent shooting from downtown.

    “Today’s game just shows that Paul Desiderio is still Paul Desiderio. I’ve been waiting so long to see him become this guy and he showed up today. I’m really happy and excited,” said Akhuetie, who didn't do too badly with 20 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.

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    He wants to see the 'real' Desiderio to keep showing up.

    “I want to see consistency, it’s also part of my job to push him. If he’s gonna be consistent like this all game, we won’t really have to stress,” he added.

    Desiderio’s scoring outburst will definitely be a huge boost for the Maroons, who are looking for one late push to the playoffs after an up-and-down first round that saw them slump to sixth place at one point.

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    The Fighting Maroons had to rely on the herculean effort of Akhuetie and Juan Gomez de Liano for the most part of the season, with Akhuetie averaging 17.8 points, 14.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals.

    But Akhuetie warns his squad against complacency, saying that they should always be on their toes entering their final four games.

    “Well we did a good job last game and this game but we don’t have to be too comfortable with it. Altogether, on to the next and the next and the next, that’s what I can say,” Akhuetie said.

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    “We came out ready to play and I think we’ve gotten our groove back.”

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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