ALL eyes in Far Eastern University are understandably on RJ Abarrientos, L-Jay Gonzales, and even Xyrus Torres.
Emman Ojuola the constant
But the Tamaraws won't be where they are this UAAP Season 84 if not for the steadying presence of Emman Ojuola.
"Every game naman, kung nakikita niyo si Emman, he puts tremendous effort in everything he does whether it's rebounding, whether screening, sa lahat ng bagay," said coach Olsen Racela.
The Nigerian center's impact on the floor could not be overstated as he provides that much-needed ceiling for the young FEU side.
Ojuola has averaged 11.8 points, 12.6 boards, 1.6 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 30 minutes of play as his consistent double-double production has been a huge reason for the Tamaraws steadying the ship as they sit tied for fourth place at 4-6 alongside Adamson and National University.
He was at it again on Thursday in FEU's 59-57 escape from NU where he churned out a solid 11-point, 11-rebound double-double, while also collecting five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
For Racela, he couldn't help but be filled with guilt sometimes when he needs to overextend the minutes of Ojuola given the Tamaraws' lack of size.
"Minsan nga nagso-sorry ako sa kanya kasi masyado ko siyang in-eextend sa minuto," the mentor said, a remark that he noted the 6-foot-7 big man has routinely waved off.
"That's Emman. Sinasabi niya sa akin na, 'Coach, if you need me to play 40 minutes...,' gagawin daw niya. I'm just happy and proud of him."
Ojuola's dedication to FEU's cause really shouldn't come as a surprise with the transferee from Naga College Foundation making the most of his lone playing year in the UAAP.
It's for this reason that the Tamaraws are really determined to compete with Ojuola down low as the Morayta squad looks to make a late run to the Final Four.
"This is his first and last UAAP season so this really means a lot to him. And grabe din yung tiwala niya sa mga teammates niya," Racela said of Ojuola.
"We hope that he just becomes more consistent at mapahinga ko naman ng konti si Emman dito sa succeeding games namin."
FEU aims for back-to-back wins this Saturday against the winless and also-ran University of the East.
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