Co on first playoff berth: ‘It’s a dream come true’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 13, 2015 07:23 PM
Co on first playoff berth: ‘It’s a dream come true’
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING. Atoy Co will finally be making his first Final Four appearance.

The last time Mapua Institute of Technology advanced into the next round was in 2010.

Then, Josan Nimes was still in Arizona, Allwell Oraeme was just a 12-year-old kid playing football in Nigeria, and showbiz was keeping Atoy Co busy.

Since then, the Cardinals have finished in the standings fifth, sixth, last, and last again, having difficulty sniffing the Final Four. That is until  Wednesday at the MOA Arena when Nimes, Oraeme, and Co led them in flying away with the fourth and final playoff berth in the NCAA 91 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

While they took varied paths in heading to Intramuros, all three had the same final destination in mind: bring Mapua back into the Final Four. Now they have, Co, Philippine basketball legend he already is, described it as “a dream come true.”

“From the start of the tournament, I’ve been setting in their mind already that we’re (making the) Final Four. Now we’re here, I’m happy, happy, happy,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

For his part, when reporters talked with him, Nimes shared it still was unreal that he was finally in the Final Four now on his final playing year. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m sure later it will,” he said.

Along with a playoff return, the Cardinals’ win formalizes Oraeme’s status as, by far, the leading MVP candidate. With Arellano University and University of Perpetual Help failing to make it into the next round, the Nigerian’s closest competitor for the award is Art Dela Cruz of San Beda College.

Still, the impressive rookie said individual accolades remain far from his mind. “All I’m focused on is helping Mapua go farther,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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