Rookies stepping up for Mapua Cardinals in NCAA Final Four drive | Inquirer Sports

Rookies stepping up for Mapua Cardinals in NCAA Final Four drive

/ 08:01 PM September 15, 2015

Allwell Oraeme celebrates. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Allwell Oraeme celebrates. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Amid the fanfare given to forward Josan Nimes in Mapua’s NCAA Season 91 run, the Cardinal’s rookies also have been doing their part in helping this season’s hosts end their five-year Final Four drought.

And on Tuesday, the Mapua neophytes proved themselves anew in the 82-77 stinging of Letran for their fifth straight victory.

MVP candidate Allwell Oraeme has been a rock for Mapua, finishing with 18 points and hauling down a monstrous 30-rebound outing, a league-high.

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READ: Mapua beats Letran for 5th straight win behind Oraeme’s efforts

“He’s very raw, so watch out when he matures,” said Cardinals deputy Ed Cordero said of the Cardinals’ Nigerian big man.

Despite all the numbers he’s been putting in, Oraeme admittedly still has a lot to learn.

“We’ve been telling that to Allwell that he should be very, very patient and very coachable because brighter things are looking up for him considering that he’s a rookie. He doesn’t have much experience, and he’s coming out beyond our expectations,” said Cordero.

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Rookies John Nieles, Darell Menina, and Justin Serrano also played their roles and each had their own shining moment in the game against the ferocious Knights.

Cordero, who mentored the team in lieu of suspended head coach Atoy Co, was proud of the team’s drive considering the inexperience of the squad compared to its rivals.

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READ: NCAA suspends Mapua coach Atoy Co for 2 games

“This team is really composed of rookies and sophomores,” he said. “The veterans are injured and we thank our lucky stars that Josan (Nimes) came with good passes, quarterbacking the team despite of his injury.”

Aside from Nimes, CJ Isit and Andretti Stevens are also sidelined due to injuries.

Mapua is still on the outside looking in at fifth place with its 9-5 card, a half a game behind Perpetual in the race for the last Final Four ticket.

The Cardinals face powerhouse teams Arellano and San Beda next before finishing their eliminations schedule against EAC and St. Benilde.

And Cordero has already laid down the challenge for the hungry Mapua side.

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“If we are truly winners, the more we work hard for every win. That’s the challenge now for these boys. For every win, all the more you need to work harder,” he said.

NCAA season 91 men’s basketball standings | Create infographics

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TAGS: Josan Nimes, Mapua Cardinals, NCAA, Rookies

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