With Estrella and Gabo hurt, Cardinals down to eight-man rotation

With Estrella, Gabo hurt, Cardinals down to 8-man rotation
DOWN, NOT OUT. Atoy Co and Mapua vow to power through even with the absence of Andoy Estrella and Leo Gabo.

Mapua University has been bitten by the injury bug.

Top gun Andoy Estrella was inactive while wingman Leo Gabo was severely limited in the Cardinals’ matchup with San Beda College on Friday.

“Wala na nga akong players, na-injure pa,” a downtrodden head coach Atoy Co said after his boys got mangled by the Red Lions, 55-66.

According to Co, teammate Almel Orquina fell on Estrella’s knee during practice. “Wala naman daw lumagutok, pero he had a hard time walking after,” he shared.

The head coach said that the team is still awaiting MRI results, but they are already bracing for what looks like an MCL injury. “Si Andoy, matagal-tagal pa makakabalik,” he expressed.

He also added, trying to make light of the bad news, “Wala pa lang resulta ng MRI, pero diba usually pag MRI e ‘Matagal Recovery.’”

As for his other main man, Co said Gabo sprained his foot during the same practice.

The guard suited up and still played four minutes against San Beda, but clearly wasn’t 100 percent.

The mentor is hopeful that Gabo will be able to return before their next game a week from now. “Hopefully, Gabo will be back next game,” he expressed.

Without those two, Mapua was limited to a roster that can only go eight-deep with Denniel Aguirre, Christian Bunag, Marvel Jimenez, Kim Magboo, JP Nieles, Almel Orquina, JB Raflores, and Laurenz Victoria.

And so, those eight would have to soldier on and make up for Estrella’s 16.5 points, six rebounds, and 4.5 assists as well as Gabo’s 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.

With or without them, Co wants nothing more than for the Cardinals to keep putting up good fights. “From the start of the season, gusto ko lang naman talaga is a good showing and not necessarily winning,” he said.

He then continued, “Winning is just the bonus.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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