Topex Robinson’s rebuild of De La Salle University has gotten a building block from somewhere familiar.
The Green Archers have secured the services of Matthew Rubico, the Lyceum of the Philippines-Cavite ace who led NCAA Season 98 in terms of Statistical Points (SPs).
“Siyempre po La Salle ito. Ibang usapan po ang La Salle. Alam ko rin po na mas mag-iimprove dito at sa studies maganda,” said the 19-year-old to Tiebreaker Times.
“Si Coach Topex din po ang head coach, galing LPU kaya alam ko matuto ako sa kanya.”
Behind norms of 21.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.6 steals, the 5-foot-11 primetime playmaker was far and ahead in the SPs race, but won’t be winning MVP by virtue of the Jr. Pirates missing out on the Final Four.
Still, in his one and only year in red-and-grey, Rubico proved to be among the best players in the Philippines, ranking eighth overall in the 2023 NBTC 24 – and fourth when talking about guards.
Rubico attended De La Salle-Lipa for his Grade 7 and 8 studies before moving to Lyceum-Cavite, making this a homecoming to the La Salle system.
“Nakakatuwa lang kasi umalis ako ng La Salle nun tapos babalik rin pala ko ng La Salle.”
But it was in Lyceum where he made a name for himself. And for that, he is forever grateful.
“Kung wala yung LPU na tumulong, nagpaaral, at humubog sa akin, siguro wala ako dito,” he expressed.
“Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa kanila dahil tinulungan din nila ako na makarating sa La Salle.”
The 18-year-old now joins ex-LPU shot-caller Robinson’s new crew fronted by Mike Phillips, Evan Nelle, and CJ Austria.
He will also get to learn from the likes of DJ Mitchell, Evan Nelle, and Mark Nonoy.
“Sa akin, kumbaga sa tao lang yun e. Ako magprapractice lang ako araw-araw at magpapagaling. Yung pressure hindi ko pinapansin kasi yan. Kung ano yung nilalaro ko, yun ang gagagawin ko,” he said.
Rubico will be good to go for La Salle come UAAP Season 86 later in the year.
“Siyempre excited ako maglaro sa UAAP. Unang napanood ko nun sila Jeron Teng, eto yung mga gusto kong school. Ang pangarap mo kasi kung bata ka, maglaro sa La Salle, maglaro sa UAAP,” he said.
“Sobrang gusto kong makapaglaro laban sa Ateneo, sa UP… Sinagot ni Lord yung pangarap ko. Gusto ko maging better ako at least one-percent a day para ready na ako.”