Atoy Co blows fuse as Cardinals go silent when Bombers bring out the fireworks
Coach Atoy Co said the young players simply crumbled in the endgame. Jerome Ascano

MAPUA coach Atoy Co called out the Cardinals role players as he lamented the absence of a take-charge guy, watching his squad squander an 18-point lead and practically hand the win to Jose Rizal University.

The Cardinals failed to protect an 84-66 lead with just three minutes to play as the Heavy Bombers used a 24-3 blast to come away with a 90-87 win, stunning the Mapua players and fans on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.

[See JRU Bombers overcome 18-point deficit in final three minutes, stun Mapua]

With Allwell Oraeme and Stephen Que leading, Mapua built a big lead.

But Co stressed that it was Josan Nimes and CJ Isit — out with injuries —  who they needed in the endgame.

“Wala akong take-charge guy. Sana kung nandoon si Josan or si CJ na may puso. The rest parang…,” said Co.

“Sad, sad day,” said Co.

Oraeme had 25 points and 19 rebounds while Que had 10 of his 19 points in the third quarter for Mapua. Still, it wasn’t enough for a team that had also nearly squandered a 41-point lead over Lyceum before winning.

“We were not able to inbound properly. Natakot sila to take charge,” said Co.

The PBA legend said JRU’s tough conversions also contributed to the Heavy Bombers’ win.

“Lahat ng tira nila, hail mary shot pumapasok,” Co said.

In the end, Co said the team still needs to mature.

“Eto ’yung pinakamahirap, ’yung maturity. Ang tingin ko, kulang pa ’yung maturity sa endgame. Ang nangyayari, na-rarattle,” said Co.

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