The Lyceum of the Philippines University has been ushering in a new era in their sporting program. From a new coaching staff, that includes winning PBA players and a champion assistant coach from the National University Bulldogs, the team is set to build a winning program with coach Topex Robinson leading the charge.
During their NCAA Season 91 debut, the Pirates went toe-to-toe with pre-season favorites, the Perpetual Altas. In the end, the Pirates lost 70-61 after a tied third quarter.
The ever-calm Robinson told us after the game that the team was inspired to play against legendary coach Aric del Rosario and his squad. “They gave us a good baptism of fire,” the former San Sebastian Stags head coach quipped. For the team though, this is just the first part of a learning experience that will lead them to better things. “Failures are just a delay for good things to come. Hopefully, in the next 17 games we play, we continue to strive to keep on getting better.”
Moreover, Robinson was philosophical in his approach to his players saying that in every game they should respect the sport that brought them to the dance. “In every game I always remind the boys to honor the game, honor the opponents, give respect to this basketball. By honoring it, it doesn’t mean that we’ll win every game but we’ll do our best. It’s how we play basketball kasi diyan kami may control.”
The Pirates had an impressive outing in their first preseason tournament, in the Technical Institute of the Philippines Invitational, before injuries to players, including an ACL injury to team captain Dexter Zamora, hampered the team’s Filoil Flying V Premier Cup campaign.
Fortunately for the Pirates, they were able to recruit highly-touted prospect Noah Lugo to replace Zamora. Lugo played 17 minutes but was visibly out of shape. “Lugo is a late addition. Parang ngang may bunsong kapatid sila Beau Belga dito e,” he laughingly said. “But I really believe in Noah since I saw him play for the [Malayan] Red Robins.”
Moreover, during the game, senior Shaq Alanes made up for a bad night from Joseph Gabayni. Alanes scored 13 points, including four three pointers, while Gabayni only put up two markers in the game. “He [Alanes] just wanted to be given a chance. I told him to never let go of this chance. Just grab the opportunity I told him,” Robinson on Alanes’ big game.
However, Joseph Gabayni, though fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in the Filoil tournament, has yet to be fully conditioned for the season. “I guess with Otep [Gabayni] he is still adjusting to our system. If you noticed we really love to run. He is a little bit on the heavy side pa rin. I always told him that he his gonna end games for us.”
In the end, with all the pieces in place and the team only wants to gain the experience to take them to the next level. In addition, the respect from the other teams and the pundits is what Robinson hopes the team gained after this game. “We were ranked bottom four in all of the preseason standings. Let it be a motivation for us to really strive hard. We want to be respected as a good young team. Winning games is secondary to us. The primary goal is to play our best in every game day in and day out,” the young coach closed.
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