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    Bright Akhuetie called up to Nigerian pool for World Cup qualifiers

    Nov 23, 2021
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    BRIGHT Akhuetie's return to the Philippines may very well have him wearing green and white.

    The 6-foot-8 big was named to the Nigerian national team pool set to see action in the 2023 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers from November 2021 to February 2023.

    The world No. 23 D'Tigers will duke it out with 16 continental rivals for five berths in the world meet scheduled in August-September 2023 and co-hosted by Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

    The former UAAP MVP joins a 16-man pool led by ex-NBA players Ben Uzoh and Ike Diogu. He and four others were listed as home-based, as compared to Uzoh, Diogu, and nine more who are currently active players in international leagues.

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    Nigeria - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers - FIBA.basketball)

    The last time Akhuetie played in the Philippines was in UAAP Season 82, helping UP to its first-ever second seed and twice-to-beat advantage, while averaging 14.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals.

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    The season prior, he became the first Fighting Maroon since Benjie Paras in 1986 to be hailed as MVP.

    He still had one year of eligibility left for State U, but Season 83 was called off due to the pandemic. He has since moved back to Nigeria. Before taking his talents to Diliman, the 25-year-old also starred for Perpetual in the NCAA.

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    Nigeria commences its qualifying campaign with back-to-back games against 100th-ranked Cape Verde and 75th-ranked Mali on Friday and Saturday, with 12-man lineups for both games most likely revealed in the next day or two. Rounding out Group A is No. 90 Uganda.

    The green and white national team, with an average height of 6-foot-7 and average age of 27, will be mentored by Julius Nwosu, who once led Red Bull to the 2002 PBA Commissioner's Cup title.

    In the most recent FIBA World Cup in 2019, the D'Tigers won one game, at the expense of Korea, in the group stages before finishing 17th. They then went on to the Tokyo Olympics where they ranked 10th out of 12 teams.

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