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Tiebreaker Times


Topex declares La Salle not the ‘underdog’ vs UP: ‘Everybody from the start knows their natural roles’

Lorenzo del Carmen

Coach Topex Robinson is finally feeling the love and adulation from the De La Salle community after leading the Green Archers to the finals of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

When Robinson was first appointed to the post last January, many Lasallian alumni were skeptical because the former Lyceum of the Philippines University mentor had not graduated from any La Salle school.

Well, he is now finishing his undergraduate studies in Taft.

Then came the first round of the season.

The Green Archers suffered losses to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, NU Bulldogs, and the UP Fighting Maroons. Many of the team’s supporters pressed the panic button, questioning the decisions made by Robinson and his staff.

“The moment I stepped in, I always remembered the saying that once you get hired, you’re gonna be ready to get fired,” said the former Phoenix Super LPG head coach.

“But I always remind (the players) that we keep our circle safe and make sure that these guys are gonna grow from that circle. Again, we always have to remember rule number one — you always use your best judgment. These guys really are just doing everything. Our job is just 10 percent of what they do. Ninety percent is credited to the players that we have. I guess what’s important again is how that trust was built through all those challenges, especially in the first round,” he furthered.

“We really woke up and made sure that those losses are learning opportunities for us. We’re still gonna make mistakes, but they became aware that when they make a mistake, they know they made a mistake. We don’t blame each other here. Somebody has to step up to the plate and take the responsibility. That’s why they were able to grow in this team that we’re building and make memories.”

Now, everything is looking up for Robinson.

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He just led La Salle to its first finals appearance since Season 80, and he has a chance to achieve what the likes of Franz Pumaren, Juno Sauler, and Aldin Ayo achieved — winning the school a UAAP championship as a first-year head coach.UAAP-80-Men-ADU-vs.-UP-Franz-Pumaren-2962 Topex declares La Salle not the 'underdog' vs UP: 'Everybody from the start knows their natural roles' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Despite the prospect of achieving such a feat, Robinson has long-term plans for the Green Archers program, which has been notorious for its short-termism and habitual coach replacements.UAAP-78-ADMU-vs.-DLSU-Juno-Sauler-9511 Topex declares La Salle not the 'underdog' vs UP: 'Everybody from the start knows their natural roles' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

He has recruited several promising prospects this year for the seasons to come. Whether the Green Archers win the championship or not this year, it is important that the school carries on from this platform next season.UAAP-79-Finals-G2-DLSU-vs.-ADMU-Aldin-Ayo-2461 Topex declares La Salle not the 'underdog' vs UP: 'Everybody from the start knows their natural roles' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“La Salle is not an underdog,” said Robinson. “It’s just a matter of giving the players that freedom to really flourish and to be at their natural best.

“Everybody from the start knows their natural roles. The clarity of roles was evident from the onset. Everybody knows that these guys will win games for us, and these guys will also lose games for us,” he continued.

“That really helped us a lot in transitioning to knowing everybody’s roles. Along the way, through the challenges that we had, they got to define them more based on the experiences that we had.”

La Salle will look to win its 10th UAAP championship in its history. For that to happen, the Green Archers will have to overcome the steep challenge posed by the Fighting Maroons.

The two schools split their elimination round assignments this season. Everyone can expect players from both sides to play as hard as they can, as glory and school pride are at stake.

#ReadMore  Aljun Melecio says La Salle needed win badly: 'Napagod na kami matalo'

Before, he emphasized that pressure is a privilege. This time, he wants his players to seize their chance at winning a UAAP crown.UAAP86-MBB-Mark-Nonoy-3170 Topex declares La Salle not the 'underdog' vs UP: 'Everybody from the start knows their natural roles' Basketball DLSU News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“When I took the job, I told the players it’s either you win a championship or you die trying,” said Robinson. “If you’re representing a program that’s rich with tradition, you’re put in a situation to honor the teams and the players that came before you.

“I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to represent DLSU because of the championships it has won. I just told the players that we’re not a part of it. We could etch our own names in that rich tradition,” he furthered.

“We have an opportunity now, and that’s why we want to make sure that we will take care of that opportunity and not just roll down and just die swinging. We’re just gonna give a good fight against UP.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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