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Atoy Co blasts UAAP schools pirating NCAA Rookie-MVP Allwell Oraeme

Allwell Oraeme with his collection of awards from the NCAA Season 91. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines – After the NCAA champion coach bolted out of the league to join rival UAAP, it looks like the league MVP is being targeted next.

On the day it was confirmed that Aldin Ayo, who just guided the Letran Knights to an improbable championship run in the NCAA, is switching leagues, Mapua Cardinals coach Atoy Co bared that two high-profile UAAP teams are trying to pirate his prized Rookie-MVP Allwell Oraeme.

Co posted the startling revelation on his Facebook account on Thursday night, a few hours after Ayo met with the Letran officials to formally bid goodbye as he reportedly accepted a P9-million, three-year offer with the De La Salle Green Archers.

“For the past few weeks people are asking me if it’s true that UAAP teams are eyeing Oraeme Allwell. But today it’s almost confirmed that 2 high profile schools in UAAP are trying to get him (inaaswang nila),” Co said in his Facebook post.

“Mga walang delicadeza. Hindi sana bale kung galing high school paakyat ng varsity. Mamimili ang player kung saan niya gusto sa college, hindi yon nasa college na? Tapos after 3 yrs pinagtyagaan mo turuan at gumaling na tapos ngayon o-offer-an nila ng pera para maglaro sa kanila. Ganon ba ang sportsmanship,” Co asked.

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Reached by Philstar.com, Co said he was about to meet Oraeme on Friday morning but his Nigerian import, who is living with a friend around Taft Avenue in Manila, excused himself since he's not feeling well.

“Allwell is not well. Kakausapin ko ‘yung bata.  Three years kong inalagaan yan. May mga nakarating kasi sa akin na mga balita.  Hindi naman tayo nasa pro na pwede mong bilhin ang mga players.  Nasa collegiate tayo, hindi porke’t may pera ka eh, ganun na lang.  Bakit hindi nila gamitin yung pera nila to get good coaches to teach their players fundamentals para maka-develop sila ng sarili nilang talent,” Co told Philstar.com.

While withholding the names of the UAAP schools trying to pirate Oraeme, Co could not help but admire their rival NCAA school San Beda Red Lions.

“Buti pa ang San Beda, mataas respeto ko diyan. Magaling silang mag-develop ng mga players. Ilan na bang high school players ang napagaling nila at ninanakaw sa kanila pagdating ng college? Sa mga may perang eskuwelahan, kung talagang magaling mag-develop ang mga coaches nila, dapat maraming alumni from their high school ang naglalaro sa college team nila,” Co said.

“They’re not developing a team. They’re buying a championship,”

Oraeme, who just turned 20 last Tuesday, became the only third player in the NCAA history to win both Rookie of the Year and the MVP awards in the same season after Gabby Espinas and Sam Ekwe.

He averaged 16.3 points, league-best 20.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks

Oraeme was also named the Best Defensive Player of the Year helping the Cardinals enter the Final Four for the first time under Co’s tenure. 

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