With the bubble training for collegiate teams set to begin, priorities for the student-athletes and coaches will change.
After all, they will be away from their families for at least four months.
Lyceum head coach Jeff Perlas made the tough decision to step down from his post as Pirates head coach due to family reasons on Monday, according to Lyceum head of basketball operations Topex Robinson.
Assistant coach Gilbert Malabanan will be elevated to the seniors’ team.
It was a shock move that caught even Malabanan by surprise.
“Medyo na-shock ako at first sa decision ng management but I’m ready to face the challenge,” Malabanan told Tibreaker Times. “Matagal na rin naman tayo dito sa basketball. Siguro, I’ll do my best na lang with my assistant coaches to work it out para sa lahat ng dapat pagtrabahuan natin sa team.”
Malaban will be joined by assistant coaches JC Docto and Patrick Melencio.
For his part, Malaban shared that he and outgoing head coach Perlas have a tight bond. And he will just make little tweaks in the system that Perlas and Topex Robinson set in the team for the past six years.
“I have a good relationship with Coach Jeff,” he said. “Yung pressure, hindi ko nararamdaman kasi parang laro lang din ito. I’ve been a player before at lakasan lang ito ng loob.
“I’m going to do my best to work sa team namin and mabigay ko yung best ko na maayos yung team natin.“
Malabanan, a former PBA pro who had stints with San Miguel and Ginebra, has been a coach for the better part of the 2010s. His last stint in other leagues was with Bacolod Masters Sardines while he was Vic Ycasiano’s lead assistant.
Making his transition much easier is that he has a lot of Lyceum-Cavite products in the team – headlined by Mac Guadana and John Barba.
“Most of our players are new pero may nadala kami na five veterans,” he said. “Karamihan dun na-handle ko na for the past four years.
“Wala naman ako babaguhin sa system namin before and I will just make little twists. I guarantee that we will be an exciting team.”
Back in NCAA Season 95, the Pirates finished in third place.
Perlas took charge of the team after Robinson became head coach of Phoenix Super LPG last October of 2020.