The Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday afternoon.
The marquee game of Tuesday’s triple-header pitted the Cardinals against fellow preseason-favorites Arellano University. Moreover, two of the top three in the Most Valuable Player race were in the game, Jio Jalalon and Allwell Oraeme.
Oraeme returned to the lineup after missing Mapua’s last game against the EAC Generals. The reigning MVP’s return, though, was one of the worst outings of the Nigerian big man.
“Depensa. Butas yung gitna. Si Allwell di ko talaga pinapalabas ng gitna,” said Mapua head coach Atoy Co after the loss. “Alam ng ibang team yun. Scouted yun. Yung depensa, Allwell has to stay inside the paint to protect the rim.”
Oraeme had already accumulated three fouls in the opening half of the game while shooting just 1-for-5 from the field. With 5:14 remaining in the game, the 20-year-old center was penalized with his fourth foul.
“Po-protektahan ko si Allwell na hindi mafouled-out. Pero yung lamang, nakikita ko lumalaki na. Anong gagawin ko?” Co said as he was forced to choose between keeping his center in the game or benching him up until the start of the frame. Arellano were holding a 50-35 lead at that moment.
“Isusugal ko na. Kaysa hihintayin kong lumobo yun, tapos tsaka ko ipapasok si Allwell. Huli na. Kaya nagdesisyon ako na isugal.”
One minute and 45 seconds later, Oraeme was called for his fifth foul – a charge call against the smaller Donald Gumaru.
“Pero yung huling foul, may acting na eh. Lahat nung foul ni Allwell si Boyong ang tumawag,” protested a disgruntled Co. “Halos lahat dun siya, apat ata dun siya ang tumawag e. Parang binabad niya yang import ko.”
“Kaya nga sinasabi ko, ‘ikaw nagpatalo sa amin e’, hindi nalang nagpatalo, ‘ikaw nagpatambak sa amin’, kung natalo sana nang maayos e, okay lang e, inalis nya yung magandang laban e diba?”
Moreover, the PBA legend added that his team must know how to win without Oraeme, just as Arellano had surged without Jalalon on the floor. “Siyempre kailangan yung iba din magstep-up. Hindi pwedeng i-asa lang lahat kay Allwell,” the Fortune Cookie rued. “Yun ang sabi ko after this game. We have to learn from this.”
“Hindi tayo pwedeng umasa lahat kay Allwell. Dapat magtulong tulong. Wala namang team na nananalo mag-isa.”
“Si Jalalon, hindi masyadong umiskor pero nananalo sila kasi nag-step up yung Arellano eh. Dapat kapag nawala si Allwell, lalo tayong maging sumigasig”
“Kanina nawala si Allwell, isang kindat lang nakakasulot na sila e,” he concluded.
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