PERPETUAL Help confirmed on Thursday Bright Akhuetie wants out, but made it clear it will welcome the Nigerian import with open arms if he decides to stay with the Altas in next year’s NCAA basketball competition.
Perpetual Help consultant Nosa Omorogbe said Akhuetie talked to him over the weekend and expressed his intention to leave the school.
“He said he doesn’t want to stay,” Omorogbe told SPIN.ph in an interview on Thursday before the Altas played a tune-up match against Olivarez College at the Olivarez gym in Paranaque City.
“That’s what he said to me. And I said, if you don’t want to stay, I will support you on your decision. But if you want to stay, my hands are still open. You can still go back to where you started.”
Malaya was the first to report about a supposed tug-of-war between Ateneo and UP for the services of the Nigerian student-athlete.
Akhuetie was absent for the tune-up game, with Prince Eze the lone foreign player for the Altas. Gab Dagangon, another key player of the Altas last season, was present for the tune-up but didn’t suit up.
The Altas were eliminated from Season 92 by eventual champion San Beda.
According to Perpetual Help representative to the NCAA Management Committee Jeff Tamayo, Ateneo and University of the Philippines have expressed interest in recruiting Akhuetie.
Omorogbe said Akhuetie didn’t say what school he is going to in their recent conversation.
“He didn’t mention anything like that. I told him if you want to transfer to any school, it’s okay. Management supports your decision. The school will have to contact Perpetual so I don’t have any idea if any school had contacted Perpetual,” said Omorogbe.
Akhuetie is still eligible to play three years for the Altas, according to Omorogbe.
Among the two schools that have expressed interest, the Maroons actually have a connection with Akhuetie with head coach Bo Perasol having been the consultant of Mighty Sports in the PCBL where the Nigerian import played commercial ball.