De La Salle University Coach Topex Robinson took full responsibility for the Green Archers’ 77-72 defeat to archrival Ateneo de Manila University Wednesday night in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Robinson blamed himself for the loss, stating that he did not make the right moves from the bench to help his players secure a pivotal win over the Blue Eagles early in the season.
“For me, I made bad decisions down the line. I mean I could have done better. I put these players in a situation to fail. Again, just like every loss, I’ll take full responsibility for this loss. I wanna make sure that after this, I’ll put these guys in a better situation to win. This is just part of, I guess, taking ownership of this game,” said the two-time NCAA finalist.
“Everybody just played well. It was just really those possessions that we’re all gonna live by and a learning opportunity. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, let’s not take the fun or the joy out of this. What doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger.”
La Salle was expected to win the game after its impressive performance against Far Eastern University during the season opener. In contrast, Ateneo suffered a double-digit loss to National University, raising concerns among Blue Eagles’ fans.
However, the ball is round, and it was the Green Archers who tasted bitter defeat. Kevin Quiambao and Evan Nelle led La Salle, but Kai Ballungay provided the spark, while Chris Koon and Mason Amos made significant contributions to give Ateneo its first win of the season.
As one coach who requested anonymity said, “Topex got his welcome to the UAAP moment, courtesy of Tab.”
“We as a team, everybody knows about this about Kevin (Quiambao) and Evan (Nelle). Kevin and Evan will win games for us and they will also lose games for us. That’s the trust that we have in these two players,” he said.
“Yun nga yung sinabi ni Evan na we’re building something here and part of that is this experience. The break or the stuff that we broke here, we’ll just build it. It’s gonna make us stronger. Again, it’s my fault. I was outcoached tonight and we move on.”
Robinson and his La Salle team can only move forward from here. They will aim to bounce back against the University of Santo Tomas this Saturday. The Growling Tigers may have suffered back-to-back losses, but they will pose a tough challenge for the wounded Green Archers.
Losing to the Blue Eagles always stings, but there is plenty of time to learn from this defeat.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to learn. We were talking in the dugout (that) good thing it happened now,” said Robinson.
“We’ll just have to take the lessons from that and Ateneo was just the better team tonight. They did a good job. They never gave up. Again, congratulations to them.”