At First Glance: Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals
Pio Garcia (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

The forecast is bleak for the Mapua Cardinals. Having elected not to participate in the FilOil Flying V preseason tourneys, no one knows what has happened since Chito Victolero has stepped down.

The Good

Out with the old in with the new.

Replacing Chito Victolero is PBA legend Atoy “The Fortune Cookie” Co. And what could get better than that? Wins of course. If they kept their cards, pun unintended, close to their chests, well, it’s hard to predict what Co has in store for the NCAA.

It will be a rough ride pretty sure since they have lost a lot of people over the course of Victolero’s tenure and they are sure to lose more after the season’s done and over with. It’ll be tough to disregard them seeing that Co is a heady point guard and should be able to translate that into coaching.

The Bad

Let’s look at the past wrongdoings of the Victolero regime.

Well, to be exact, one wrongdoing: misuse of Yousef Taha.

Yes, Taha acted like a child throwing a tantrum when not given the ball. That is ugly but hey, the kid’s got a point. He stood a listed 6’8”. He had good footwork. He had a soft touch. He boxes out pretty well and knows how to throw his weight around. But what happened?

Victolero strayed away from the post in Taha’s only year at Mapua. He just committed a mortal sin. The mortal sin of not using a big guy to run your offense through. He should’ve had at least put the initial pass to Taha then let Mangahas and Nimes pick their spots from there as the ball rotates to their waiting hands. But no, Victolero opted to shun Taha and just let him be a pulot boy. Way to treat your big, literally and figuratively, signee right there.

The Ugly

There’s only Josan Nimes to rely on for firepower. Kenneth Ighalo’s game is just evolving. Joseph Eriobu still has left questions unanswered as to what he can do aside from being an energy guy. And who will replace Mark Paralla?

Choices are thin and their foreign-student athlete could not be possibly cleared in time since EAC’s Noubi Happi, Perpetual’s Babayemi and Omorogbe, and San Beda’s Adeogun are the last batch of foreign-student athletes.

Watch out for…

Kenneth Ighalo is the X-factor for Co and the Cardinals.

As much as the scoring will be poured in by Josan Nimes, Ighalo is not only an energy guy but a mini, mini, mini Abueva. He’s athletic enough to pull down monster rebounds and can even get up the elevator straight to the rack. This kid has a bright future as long as he keeps on working hard and avoids the unnecessary shenanigans on the court and off it.

Team Roster

1. Biteng, Exeqiel A.

2. Brana, Mark Jayson C.

3. Cantos, Jeson Rey J.

4. Eriobu Jr., Joseph Emmanuel A.

5. Estrella, Andrew G.

6. Gabo, Hesed Leo Jose P.

7. Gonzalez, Rodney M.

8. Guzman, Jervin B.

9. Ighalo, Kenneth Kim P.

10. Isit, Carlos J.

11. Layug, Raphael Joesh P.

12. Magsigay, Darrel Dave A.

13. Magtoto, Darwin V.

14. Saitanan, Jessie C.

15. Sumampong, Jerick H.

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