Just six years ago, reigning MVP Oraeme didnít even like basketball
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 12, 2016 07:45 PM
BALL IS LIFE. Allwell Oraeme was already 14-years-old when he started to play basketball.
Allwell Oraeme was hailed as the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year a season ago – back when he was a 19-year-old seeing action for the first time in the NCAA.
For an encore, the Nigerian is putting up averages of 21 points, 21 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks through three games in Season 92. More than that, all of those ended up as wins – and at 3-0, Mapua Institute of Technology is off to their best start in the Atoy Co era.
Safe to say, the now 20-year-old has got the goods in basketball.
As it turns out, however, just six years ago, ball was far from being Oraeme’s life. “I never liked basketball before,” he shared with ABS-CBN Sports.
Much like most African children, football was the first sport for the now reigning MVP.
Once he reached adolescence, however, Oraeme’s body type became a bad fit for his first sport. “When I was 14, I was growing so tall so football was no longer suitable for me.”
He then continued, “So people were saying, ‘Oh, you could play basketball.’ So I said, ‘I’ll give it a try.’”
Without a doubt, the defending DPoY made swift strides in newfound sport that only three years later, he was recruited by the Cardinals to play right in the heart of the country craziest about basketball.
However, when he got to the Philippines, Oraeme found out that he still needed a lot more work – physically, at the very least. “When I saw the physicality of the game here, I knew I had to work on my strength,” he said.
He also added, “Because of football, I had the agility already so I was good with rebounds. But I had no footwork.”
Once again, the Nigerian made swift strides with that, as evidenced by his #HakotSaNCAA a year ago and his three double-doubles in a row to start the season.
Now he is dominating the sport he only began to play six years ago, Oraeme was confident that he could match – or at least, come close – the Filipinos’ passion for the sport. “Of course, I love it now, man. I’m in basketball for life,” he expressed.
Don’t expect him to second any statement that he’s the best reinforcement in college today, however. “I’m not gonna say I’m the best. I’m gonna let what I do on the court speak for me,” he said.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.