It’s been 21 days since the Lyceum Pirates played in a competitive basketball game. And head coach Topex Robinson made sure to make the most of that time to fire up his troops.
And with no tune-up game available for them, Robinson focused on the individual developments of the Pirates heading into their knockout semifinals match with Letran in the NCAA Season 95 Seniors Basketball Stepladder.
“Actually, ‘yung time na ‘yun was just enough for us to rest our players like Mike [Nzeusseu]. Pinagpahinga namin ‘yung guys that played a lot during the elimination round. Nagkaroon din kami ng time to polish our craft. Nag-fine-tuning kami,” disclosed Robinson.
“Hindi kami gaano nakapag-prepare for Letran. The other day lang namin nalaman na sila makakalaban namin. So what we did was fine-tuning our craft.”
The Pirates ended up as the second seed after the elimination round with a 13-5 slate. However, in their last game of the round, they suffered a bitter 62-85 loss to San Beda.
In order to have a chance to get back at San Beda, Lyceum has to overcome Intramuros-neighbor Letran in a knockout game — a team they swept during the elimination round.
Still, Robinson is wary of the Knights, saying they have improved since the last time they faced them.
“They are still the Letran team that came in this season. They’re still a loaded team and a well-coached team. They’ve even gotten better since the last time we played them,” opined Robinson.
“Sa amin naman kasi, it’s how we are going to play our game. We’ve always been about focusing on what we have control of. Whoever we face, it’s always about how we are going to be better, how we improve, and how we familiarize ourselves with each other. So, ‘yun ‘yung barometer namin, ‘yung kontrolado namin. We know how strong they are but for us, we’re focusing on what we can control and how we are going to play in both ends.”
Nzeusseu will be one of the Pirates looking to extend their careers at Lyceum. And only a win over Letran can do that.
Despite this, Robinson is not pressuring his team to give Nzeusseu one more day. Instead, he only wants his team to play their hearts out. If they do this, the results will follow.
“It’s something that I’ve been telling them since Game One: to value every opportunity to play. Just honoring the gift of playing basketball and using the responsibility of this gift the right way,” the two-time NCAA runner-up mentor shared. “Not just Mike, but all our players know that basketball is not the end-all and be-all of their young lives. It’s about how they are going they use it in their next step in their life.
“Whether they like it or not, college basketball is just three to five years of their lives. But ‘yung reminder ko sa kanila is taking care of the advantage that they have of having a future career in this sport that we love.”
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