Co says they’re not yet contenders, Mapua out to prove him wrong

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 22, 2016 08:06 PM
Co says they’re not contenders, Mapua out to prove him wrong
AGREE TO DISAGREE. As a motivational tactic, coach Atoy Co said his Mapua Cardinals need a lot more work before becoming championship contenders.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 12-6, third place

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Exy Biteng, CJ Isit, Darrell Menina, Allwell Oraeme

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Almel Orquina, Laurenz Victoria

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Josan Nimes

With MVP-DPoY-RoY Allwell Oraeme setting up for an encore, Mapua Institute of Technology is being looked at as one of the contenders in the NCAA 92 Basketball Tournament.

Not in the eyes of their own coach, however. Asked what he thinks about his team being contenders, Atoy Co told ABS-CBN Sports, “Not yet. I’m sorry, alam kong magagalit sila sa akin.”

He then continued, “Sad to say, I doubt if we are in the championship level. I think I have to work on the attitude of my players.”

The attitude Co was referring to was the maturity to close out contests. Indeed, though Oraeme and his bombing bulilits Exy Biteng, CJ Isit, and Darrel Menina are back for more, they are nonetheless only into the second season working out their newfound recipe for success.

Newbies Almel Orquina and Laurenz Victoria are also set to join in on the fun, but still, they are yet to experience the intensity of the NCAA. “Short rotation lang kami kasi I don’t have that much confidence in rookie players. I can put them in the first half, pero in the fourth, iba na dikdikan dun,” the Mapua mentor expressed.

Tempering thoughts even more that they are ripe to build on their breakthrough last season, “The Fortune Cookie” added, “I’m not saying to put them down, but I will be happy if we get to the Final Four.”

Still, having the MVP-DPoY-RoY on your side will make you a contender no matter what.

And Oraeme himself could only agree that, if things go their way, they should truly be considered contenders. As he put it, “If we’re 100 percent healthy, I think we’ll win the championship.”

The Nigerian reinforcement knows very well, however, that he alone would not be able to make it happen. “I’m trying my best to help my team, but the only way is when everyone helps out,” he said.

He then continued, “Me, I’m just trying to do my part.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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