With a 22-day break from NCAA before they head on to a best-of-three finals series, it is expected that the Lyceum of the Philippines University will grind it out in the gym and undergo tuneup games to stay in shape. And yes, they have been doing all that but something unexpected is in their pre-finals regimen — community service.
“We went to White Cross, which is a home for kids that were abandoned. It’s a part of letting [the players] know how blessed they are to be in this situation right now,” coach Topex Robinson shared Saturday afternoon.
Last week, Lyceum players and coaches bonded with kids over games and food at the White Cross orphanage in San Juan City, showing how they stay true in their battlecry to inspire people beyond basketball.
“Rather to boast about and be proud, we did a lot of community service so again it’s going back to service and being where we are now, we could be enjoying everything but it’s always about helping back and giving back,” the amiable coach expressed.
In addition to giving back to the community, they utilized their break to go back to their roots, acclimatize themselves to the Araneta Coliseum, and keep playing competitive basketball.
“I gave them three days off to go back to their families and ang reminder ko dun when they went back, try to remember where you were, where you started and how everything went to you,” Robinson shared, pertaining to majority of his players who went home to spend time with their families during the recent holidays.
“It’s always about remembering saan sila nanggaling before.”
The team was also spotted enjoying Ateneo takes its 12th straight win Saturday afternoon in the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the same arena where they will gut it out for the NCAA finals. As a squad that played and won 17 games in the Filoil Flying V Centre and one on tour, acclimatizing themselves for the championship in the Big Dome is a must.
“We just wanna visualize kung ano yung mangyayari in the next few weeks so that’s the reason we went here. It’s really about sharing to the players how special it is to be here and watching the games, mentally preparing ourselves for the battle,” he said as he was joined by his players all clad in matching red LPU basketball shirts.
“Tomorrow we’re gonna play Alab [Pilipinas for a tune-up game]. It’s gonna be our first basketball game after yung October 19 game [versus San Beda],” the Lyceum mentor shared.
“After that, we’re just gonna practice because we won’t know until Tuesday so we’re just working on our preparation.”
A 22-day break from competitive basketball may be a bane but the Pirates are not taking any of it.
“It’s really hard. It’s a challenge. Tinanong nga ako before na we could choose to make it an advantage for us being away for a while, or a disadvanatge and we chose the first. We want it to be an advantage for us,” Robinson said.
“They know that our job isn’t done, they are always playing humble, they always know that they haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
The Pirates are waiting for the winner of the last step-ladder semi-finals game between San Sebastian Golden Stags and San Beda Red Lions next Tuesday. Either way, it is going to be a tough battle for the history-seeking Lyceum. With the brand of preparation Lyceum is employing, they are making sure that whoever their opponent will be starting November 10, they are ready to inspire.