MANILA, Philippines – Prince Orizu was the FEU Tamaraws’ best hope in containing the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ rookie-MVP candidate Angelo Kouame in their UAAP season-sweep bid on Saturday, October 20.
However, all that came to a screeching halt after Orizu went down with a yet unidentified leg injury after just under 7 minutes of action. The 6-foot-7 veteran openly wept on the court before being helped out by his teammates.
Orizu would not return for the night as Kouame expectedly exploded for a career-high monster double-double of 33 points and 27 rebounds (14 offensive) in the Blue Eagles’ 82-62 rout.
But right now, head coach Olsen Racela is only concerned for his ward’s health and nothing more.
“The injury to Prince obviously was not planned, and he’s the only one that can match up to Kouame,” he said after the game. “We did things we don’t normally do in the 2nd half just to keep the game close. Bottom line is, I’m just proud of the way these guys fought under the circumstances.”
Prior to the game, the Nigerian center was averaging 9.4 points and a team-high 10.9 rebounds on a whopping 73.3% shooting clip across 8 games. This time, he only had 2 points and 1 board as his team absorbed the sorry loss.
The battle between the league's top defensive teams is back!— Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) October 20, 2018
Things will be more different as both teams will be without their topscorers, so will we see more work from big men Ange Kouame and Prince Orizu?
MORE: https://t.co/RVfduJX8LW #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/KvO0jqlw3Q
“We don’t know yet. He’s at the hospital to get an x-ray. Hopefully, [the results are] negative,” Racela saidof Orizu’s injury.
“There’s no swelling. We’re hoping it’s just the muscle. He couldn’t put weight on it. Told the guys, proud of the way we fought today. But this is just one game and there are things more important than basketball. Prayed for Prince’s health.”
Likewise, Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga also said that the Eagles have kept Orizu in their prayers during and after the game.
“I don’t know if he tore something but he really couldn’t put weight on it. We’re hoping he’s okay,” Racela continued.
FEU, which absorbed back-to-back losses for the first time this season, kept a share of 3rd place with La Salle at 5-4, with UST nipping at their heels at 4-4.
Ateneo and Adamson also kept a share of the top spot with 7-2 records.
The Tamaraws will next face the 3-5 UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, October 24. – Rappler.com