Cards UP! Mapua Cardinals’ pep rally celebrates back-to-back Final Four showing

Ceej Tantengco on Sep 29, 2016 12:29 PM
Mapuas’ pep rally celebrates back-to-back Final Four showing
“We’re just blessed to give the Mapua community this experience. To make these people happy, that’s what matters right now.” - Allwell Oraeme

Can you believe the Mapua Cardinals were at the bottom of the NCAA standings two years ago? After jumping to the Top 3 spot last season, the Cardinals have made it a back-to-back Final Four showing this NCAA Season 92. Before the semifinals start on Friday, Mapua students filled the gym to cheer on their men’s basketball team.

A thankful Allwell Oraeme looked into the crowd. “We’re just blessed to give the Mapua community this experience,” said the Nigerian big man. “To make these people happy, that’s what matters right now.”

Here are five things that happened at their pep rally.

 

1. Full house for a double celebration

It’s not just the Mapua Cardinals celebrating a back-to-back Final Four appearance. The Mapua-Malayan Red Robins are entering the Final Four of the juniors division as the second-ranked team. The Mapua gym was filled with a rainbow of students, while the Cheerping Cardinals led them in practicing the different school cheers.

 

2. A message from Coach Atoy Co

“Bago ang lahat, bumabati ako ng isang magandang araw sa inyong lahat. Sa buong community ng Mapua, students, alumni, fans…sana suportahan niyo yung team,” says Co with a grin. “Kalaban natin ang Arellano at alam nating lahat na malakas sila, kaya kailangan namin ng suporta ninyo. Kita-kita tayo sa MoA Arena!”

 

3. CJ Isit’s inspiration

Isit’s mother Meds arrived from Canada last week to support her bunso. “I’m definitely gonna go hard for her,” says the graduating team captain. “Hopefully we give her a good show!” (Fun fact: Her phone’s wallpaper is a photo of CJ playing for Mapua!)

 

4. Is Exie Biteng back?

Biteng was one of Mapua’s reliable shooters last season, and the team certainly missed him in the second round after he was sidelined with an injury. Will he be back for the final four? There’s no official word yet, but watch out, Mapua fans—he’s been training with the team again!

 

5. All is well with Allwell

Reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme was in good spirits and gamely posing for wacky photos, saying that the Cardinals have been training hard but are also making sure to take breaks. “We’ve been trying to rest our bodies so we go into the game fresh,” he says. It’ll be a tough semifinal for the Cardinals without the twice-to-beat advantage, but right now, the game plan is just to take it one game at a time.

Oraeme adds: “At this point, there’s nothing more you can do but stick to the plan, stick to what’s gotten you this far. It’s about execution now.”

 

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The Mapua Cardinals face the Arellano Chiefs, while the Perpetual Altas face the San Beda Red Lions in the semi-finals of #NCAASeason92 this Friday. Don’t miss it! Games start at 1:45 PM, live on ABS-CBN S+A. Livestream here.

 

Ceej Tantengco is an NCAA Courtside Reporter. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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