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Mapua beanpole Oraeme dominates NCAA awards

(file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Allwell Oraeme showcased brilliance in just his first year in the NCAA enough for him to capture not just the Rookie of the Year award but the Most Valuable Player plum as well during the individual awards at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

The 6-9 Nigerian center garnered 69.67 statistical points, edging San Beda's point forward Arth Dela Cruz, who had 60.61 SP's, in the MVP race and Perpetual Help's Bright Akhuetie, who had 52.88 SP's, for the Rookie of the Year Award.

Oraeme became only the third player in NCAA history to win both Rookie of the Year and the MVP at the same time, the first since San Beda's Sam Ekwe in 2006.

Oraeme nearly lost the MVP award to Dela Cruz as the Cardinals went through a wild Final Four race that found them still playing one more game to determine if they will make the semis or not. Oraeme's MVP plum was sealed when Mapua beat Arellano in the said wildcard playoff.

League rules state that the SP leader after the eliminations can still lose the MVP award if his team fails to make the Final Four.

The three aforementioned players joined incoming Ginebra rookie Scottie Thompson of Perpetual Help and Jio Jalalon of Arellano in the Mythical 5.

Oraeme, who played the defensive anchor for the Cardinals all season long, also won the Defensive Player of the Year, tallying 310 defensive points and blowing by his fellow All-Defensive Team members Dela Cruz, Thompson, Akhuetie, and incoming Mahindra rookie Bradwyn Guinto of San Sebastian.

Guinto's teammate, Mike Calisaan, was hailed as the Most Improved Player, beating out JRU's Teytey Teodoro.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno