Mapúa Cardinals, Red Robins upbeat on NCAA 92 stint

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Red Robins’ Head Coach Randy Alcantara sees a more determined and ready team for NCAA ’92.

With a steadfast basketball system and firm coaches, Mapúa Institute of Technology is entering its 92nd National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) junior and senior division stints on a good note.

Cardinals Head Coach Atoy Co is confident for the upcoming season.

Despite the exit of most of its key players after they have finished their studies at the Institute, the Mapúa Cardinals have high hopes for the upcoming NCAA basketball tourney to open on June 25 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Intramuros squad still has Allwell Oraeme, who turned the tables for Mapúa last season, as he provided strong interior presence with rebounds and block shots. Oraeme previously copped both the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Top Rookie awards in a rare feat and will serve among the Cardinals’ frontlines. Head coach Atoy Co considers the 6-foot-8 Nigerian import as one of the team’s major strengths.

Co is also confident with Mapua’s basketball system, which the coaching staff has been adamantly implementing, and said that the team has a pretty good one for defense. “In college teams, you do not just play basketball. There has to be a system,” added Co. “And I think that if we embrace this system wholeheartedly, we have more chances of winning games.”

The Cardinals’ new team captain CJ Isit further noted that the coaches have come up with a great training regimen, which has been pushing them to work harder especially in the areas where they need to improve.

As they welcome the return of underrated guard Andrew Estrella and 6-foot-4 Rennel Magboo, a more aggressive Isit can be expected this coming season. Isit plans on stepping up his game to better lead his teammates and boost their offense and defense.

New team captain CJ Isit hopes to lead his teammates to step up their defense and offense.

The Cardinals already have a laudable defense play and teamwork, but Co hopes to further enhance their performance as they go along the season, saying that he will just take it one game at a time.

Meanwhile, head coach Randy Alcantara landed the Red Robins eight new assets in addition to the junior team’s key players.

With headstrong rookies and veterans teaming up, the Red Robins have a revitalized firepower inside the court. Michael Enriquez took center stage during the previous season and was hailed MVP.

“I think we are more ready now. We are hungrier for championship,” said Alcantara. “I always remind them to condition themselves and to train hard.”

The determined head coach also commended his squad’s teamwork, with a performance level of 15 to 20 assists per game.

“I like how the team plays, but of course I still give them constant reminders,” he added. “I always tell them to play as one.”

Both the junior and senior basketball teams made it to the previous season’s Final Four race, intending to soar higher this time and finally clinch the elusive tourney titles.

With a new training regimen and a new team captain, the Mapúa Cardinals are working harder to improve their game in the upcoming NCAA season.