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New Kids On The Block: Rookies Headline UAAP Season 81 Opener

It's all about the fresh blood!
by John Paulo Aguilera | Sep 9, 2018
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The first day of UAAP Season 81 was nothing short of colorful and competitive.

After a star-studded opening ceremony, it was all business for the four teams scheduled to play basketball on Saturday. The hype is real for the UP Fighting Maroons, who made history in their blowout win against the UE Red Warriors, 87-58. In the second game, the NU Bulldogs survived a furious rally from the UST Growling Tigers, 75-70, to start their campaign on a high note.

Leading the top performers of a successful opener were none other than the Season 81 rookies, who turned their baptism of fire into a defining first impression.

Bright Akhuetie

15 pts 18 reb

It's crazy to think the Nigerian center quietly put up a huge double-double just like that. Juan Gomez de Liano and Jun Manzo may have turned a lot of heads versus UE, but make no mistake, Akhuetie anchored the biggest opening day blowout since 1994.

Dave Ildefonso

19 pts 7 reb 3 ast

Dave honestly didn't look like a newcomer out there, as he toyed with defenses—even showing some flashes of that Lakay tutelage. Don't be surprised if the 18-year-old goes from promising second-generation player to No. 1 option in his first season.

Shaun Ildefonso

10 pts 11 reb

On the other hand, the numbers of the transferee from Ateneo resembled their father's more, particularly on the rebounding department. Once Shaun gets used to coach Jamike Jarin's system Bulldogs basketball, the Demolition Brothers will be scarier.

CJ Cansino

20 pts 10 reb

Cansino won his personal matchup with friend Ildefonso, though it wasn't enough to get his squad the victory. Hearing him determined to work on a lot of things, despite his impressive performance, post-game must be music to mentor Aldin Ayo's ears.

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