Season 91 finish: Third place
Elimination round record: 12-6
Point differential: -4.5
Pomp and Circumstance: Josan Nimes, Stephen Que, Mark Brana, Andretti Stevens, Ronnel Villasenor, Raphael Layug
Premier Cup record: Elimination Round (Eliminated)
Recruits and Returnees: Christian Bunag, Arvin Dela Cruz, Andrew Estrella, Joseph Eriobu, Renell Magboo, Almel Orquina
|Aguirre, Denniel Jay|
|Dela Cruz, John Arvin|
|Dela Rosa, Buenaventura|
|Eriobu Jr., Joseph Emmanuel|
|Magboo, Renell Kim Kenneth|
|Menina, Darell Shane|
|Raflores, Buenaventura Jr.|
|Serrano, Justin Oliver|
|Victoria, Justin Oliver|
After a long absence from the Final Four, Mapua’s Atoy Co and Ed Cordero jumpstarted the Cardinal basketball program last season built around rookie-MVP Allwell Oraeme.
The blueprint of Mapua’s system is surrounding Oraeme, averaged a mostrous 16.33 points, 20.28 rebounds, and 2.94 blocks in Season 91, with shooters. Darell Menina, Exe Biteng, JP Nieles, and Stephen Que more than stepped up for the team in knocking down a total of 95 triples out of the 125 threes the team drained during the season.
With Nieles out due to an ACL injury and Que not plugged into the line-up, the Mapua staff found another shooter in Almel Orquina.
Moreover, hulking guard Andrew Estrella, who may not be a knockdown shooter, returns to Mapua to give the Cardinals flexibility on the wings as he could play and defend the one to three spots. He may not be a Josan Nimes, a versatile three, but he has been consistently one of the best rebounding guards in the NCAA.
Another problem that the Cardinals hope to solve this season was the lack of size in the frontcourt. The Mapuans are hoping that rookie Renell Magboo and the returning Joseph Oriobu (did not play during the pre-season) can help ease the pressure of Oraeme, who has been plagued by a nagging ankle injury during the pre-season.
Oraeme, on the other hand, has made various strides to improve his game on the offensive end according to coach Atoy Co. “Maganda na ang perimeter shots niya tsaka maganda na rin free throws niya. Lumaki pa katawan,” he said about his prized recruit.
If all things fall in place, the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals can be the darkhorse that contend for a Finals spot. If not, then there’s always next season as the young core the Cardinals will still be with the Intramuros-based squad for years to come.
Quotes Atoy Co
“I think the best two teams are Arellano and San Beda. Alam kong madaming nagagawang milagro si Egay [Macaraya], kaya kinakatakutan namin ‘yan.”
|STARTER PACK CENTRAL|
|Follow the High Chief’s Lead||Blazing a New Trail|
|Sword without a Shield||Another New Era Begins|
|Bombs Away!||Waiting for the Baby Beast|
|All is Well||REDemption|
|Macaraya Magic||Under the Bright Light|
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