Atoy Co pins down blame on refs for Allwell Oraeme’s early exit

Top Contender Mapua Institute of Cardinals’ unbeaten run came to an end after receiving a 75-96 beating Tuesday at the hands Arellano University Chiefs in the NCAA Season 92 Senior’s Basketball Tourney at San Juan City.

Mapua coach Atoy Co couldn’t hide his dismay over the officiating, especially with his prized import Allwell Oraeme fouling out in the 3:29 mark of the 3rd quarter and finishing with an unusual 9-point, 11-board outing.

“Yung huling foul, may acting na eh,” Co exclaimed, referring to the offensive foul called on Oraeme that sent him out of the ball game.

“Lahat nung foul ni Allwell si Boyong (Mañalac) ang tumawag. Halos lahat dun sya , apat ata dun siya ang tumawag e. Parang binabad nya yang import ko. Kaya nga sinasabi ko, ‘ikaw nagpatalo sa amin e’, hindi nalang nagpatalo, ‘ikaw nagpatambak sa amin,” he added.

Mapua was behind Arellano, 41-54 when Oraeme fouled out and since then, the Cardinals weren’t able to climb out of the hole where they trailed by as much as 25 huge points.

“Kung natalo sana nang maayos e, okay lang e, inalis nya yung magandang laban e di ba?” PBA Hall of Famer and member of the 25 Greatest Players shared.

Co later revealed why he didn’t bring out the reigning MVP midway through the 3rd quarter after he was whistled for the 4th foul.

“Po-protektahan ko si Allwell na hindi mafouled-out? Pero yung lamang, nakikita ko lumalaki na. Anong gagawin ko? Isusugal ko na. Kaysa hihintayin kong lumobo yun, tapos tsaka ko ipapasok si Allwell. Huli na. Kaya nagdesiyon ako na isugal.”

With his rebounding machine in foul trouble, Mapua got outrebounded, 55-61 and manhandled in the second chance points, 16-23.

Nevertheless, Co was not taking anything away from coach Jerry Cordinera’s wards as he paid credit and respect to the Chiefs.

“Admittedly, we were outplayed.”

After suffering their first loss, Co implored his Cardinals to learn from this as they try to get back on track of their goal of 12 wins, which he considers as the magic number to get into the Final Four. He challenged the rest of the team to step up and not just rely on Oraeme, the NCAA Rookie-MVP last season. Mapua’s bench got mobbed by Arellano, 41-84.

“Dapat kapag nawala si Allwell, lalo tayong maging sumigasig e kanina nawala si Allwell, isang kindat lang nakakalusot na sila e. Syempre kailangan yung iba din magstep-up. Hindi puwedeng iaasa lang lahat kay Allwell. Yun ang sabi ko after this game.We have to learn from this,” he concluded. – By John Bryan Ulanday