MAPUA Institute of Technology (MIT) Cardinals head coach Fortunato “Atoy” Co is confident of his team’s chances in the NCAA Season, which will open on June 27.

The Cardinals, who won the Cebu City Mayor’ Cup Invitational Tournament last month, are welcoming back its pillars Josan Nimes and Andretti Stevens from the sick bay and banger Mark Braña, who was scratched from the line-up last because of academic problems.

Part of Co’s optimism is the contribution that the Cebuano recruits could bring to the Cardinals.

Point guard Shane Menina who was recruited personally by Co from the University of Cebu during the short tournament here.

“Nasa line-up ko na (Menina). Kasama na siya sa team na nag shoot ng promo video sa Action+Sports 23. Menina is a very good player. He is a good ball handler and he can shoot. Matalino and madaling maka-adopt ng system namin. We came to Cebu hoping to find a big man but nung nakita naming paano maglaro si Menina, eh inofferan na naming. Kailangan naming ang kagayan niya. Rest assured, magagamit talaga,” Co told Sun.Star Cebu.

Menina will debut in NCAA next Saturday.

Aside from Menina, forward Mark Obado was also recruited by Mapua from UC.

But the 6’2” banger was not included in the line-up since Mapua is loaded with bigmen with the presence of Brana, Raphael Layug and Justin Serrano.

Apology

The PBA Legend channelled to Sun.Star-Cebu his apology for not talking to UC management when they recruited the two players.

“Plano ko talaga magpapaalam at kausapin si Atty. (Baldomero) Estenzo, out of courtesy kumbaga. Pero naunahan na ako sa mga reports eh, lumabas na sa mga newspapers yung issue. So wala na, di na natuloy. Pero bago ko ni recruit, sana huwag lang natin gamitin ang word na “pirate” ano, eh kinausap ko yung mga bata and mga magulang, eh pumayag naman. At saka sabi nila di pa daw nag-enrol kaya ino-offeran ko, pumayag naman, eh di kinuha ko na,” Co stressed.

The former member of the Legendary Crispa Redmanizers added that one of the parents concerned wanted to talk to Estenzo but accordingly, the latter did not face them.

Estenzo however was quick to deny this report.

“That is not true. Ngano gud nga dili nako atubangon. Mo-atubang man gani ko og dili kaila, sila na hinoon. Okay ra man nga mobalhin, dili man ta mopugong. But out of courtesy, they should have informed Atty. (Augusto) Go. Did we stop (Jerei) Pingoy or (Jan) Auditor? No. Basta mananghid lang ni Atty. Go, ok na,” Estenzo said.

Pingoy, who was in his fourth year, left the Baby Webmasters to accept the offers of FEU Baby Tamaraws, which turned out to be a fruitful one as he claimed back-to-back MVP titles in UAAP while leading the team to winning the the title in 2013 Season.