ALLWELL Oraeme admitted he was surprised to win the MVP award in Season 92 of the NCAA, saying he felt Jio Jalalon played great the whole campaign.
The Mapua center won the individual award for the second straight year - the first to do so since San Sebastian's Romel Adducul in 1996-97. But he was quick to praise the man he beat for the honor.
“He was good. He played great. I was surprised I won it, to be honest," said the Cardinals star. "I felt like he was a really good player. He is going to be great in the pros."
“His confidence was above all. He didn’t care about missing. He kept on attacking and shooting,” Oraeme, who also won a spot in the Mythical Five and Defensive Player of the Year honor, added.
Oraeme accumulated 65.12 points in player all-around value (PAV) to beat Jalalon, who had 57.50 PAV. Statistics was the solo basis in the selection of the yearend awardees.
Oraeme said he was actually not targeting the MVP this year, adding he was more focused on leading the Cardinals to the championship.
“I wasn’t focused on that because I was just trying to get to the finals. I felt that if my performance was good, why not,” said Oraeme, whose Cardinals bowed to Jalalon and the Chiefs in the Final Four.
Sticking to the positives, Oraeme said reaching the Final Four in two straight seasons is already an accomplishment for a Mapua team that for a long time has been stuck in the bottom of the NCAA hierarchy.
“Even though we came up short, I felt like making it to the Final Four is still a blessing. Couple of years ago, we were at the bottom of the table. Right now, we are the top contenders. I’m really grateful,” said Oraeme.
Oraeme is hoping to finally go all the way with the Cardinals next year, although it figures to be tough with seniors CJ Isit and Joseph Eriobu finishing their college eligibility.
“That’s what I want right now. The championship. But it’s going to be tough. Everybody has to want to win, the whole team,” said Oraeme.