ALMEL Orquina may not have much similarities with Allwell Oraeme aside from the same initials and the similar sounding first name.
But he is fast becoming one of the players picking up the slack for the Cardinals playing without the controversial import in Season 93.
Orquina was a key player for Mapua in its loss to Perpetual Help on Thursday when he scored 10 points, while shooting two key triples in the second half to keep the Cardinals close against the Altas.
The Cardinals, however, fell to 1-2 after bowing to the Altas at home, 63-60, in the continuation of the NCAA On Tour.
But Orquina is starting to become a gem for the Cardinals with his three-point shooting, years after he was spotted by Mapua coach Atoy Co.
Orquina said he was seen by Co during a game for Philippine College of Criminology high school following a Mapua practice at the San Andres Gym.
"Nung time kasi na nasa PCCr ako, may laro kami sa San Andres tapos may practice 'yung Mapua. After practice nila, may game kami. Tapos nakita ako ni coach Atoy," said the 21-year-old Orquina.
Co was so impressed at Orquina that he tried to convince him to transfer to Malayan, Mapua's high school, there and then, but decided to move to the Cardinals by the time he graduated at PCCr.
"Siyempre, nung napansin ako, sobrang natuwa ako. Opportunity na 'yun para sa akin. Ibang school na 'to. NC na eh. Sobrang saya ko na napansin ako ni coach Atoy."
Following a year in the Mapua pool, and another year with the NCAA team, Orquina is getting increased minutes and is making an impact for the Cardinals in Season 93. In three games, he is currently the leader in threes with a total of six while averaging 7.3 points per outing.
Mapua coach Atoy Co, however, said Orquina can still improve.
"He can shoot better. I've been teaching him na hindi puwedeng catch and shoot lang... I'm not surrendering on keep on telling him to do that because it's for his own good," said Co.
Orquina vowed to follow Co's call as the season continues.
"Siguro kailangan ko pa mag-focus at magkakumpiyansa. 'Yun ang sinasabi ni coach. Bumaba pa 'yung kumpiyansa ko nung college. Gusto kong ibalik 'yung dati," said Orquina.