Lyceum of the Philippines University have just had their first taste of defeat in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Of course, it wasn’t technically a loss for the Pirates as it came in the fourth-annual All-Star Game last Friday.
On that day, LPU-led Team Heroes fell to Team Saints, 80-84 – meaning for the first time in the season, head coach Topex Robinson and King Pirate CJ Perez did not go inside the press room for a post-win interview.
At the end of the game, however, Robinson nor Perez did not look like losers and were all smiles. “Maganda yung laro. At least, nag-enjoy kami tapos naka-inspire at naka-entertain ng ibang tao,” the latter expressed.
Indeed, Perez said that this “first loss” will not lead into a “second loss” for LPU once the second round starts. “’Di namin dinamdam ‘to kasi hindi naman magtutuloy ‘tong talo sa second round,” he expressed.
What’s more, it took an unprecedented team-up of archrivals San Beda College and Colegio de San Juan de Letran coupled with a big game by All-Star MVP Prince Eze to give the Pirates their first taste of defeat in the season.
In the end, the biggest threat to the league-leaders may actually come from the squads which joined them in Team Heroes.
Arellano University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Jose Rizal University, and Mapua University all travelled to Intramuros to prepare for the exhibition and were all mentored by LPU head coach Topex Robinson.
According to Perez, their mentor did not hide anything from their All-Star teammates who were also their NCAA opponents. “Walang tinago si coach. Yung mga sinasabi niya lagi sa amin, ni-share din niya sa kanila,” he said.
He then continued, “Gusto niya kasi, kahit All-Star Game, pukpukan din ang laro.”
For one of those All-Star teammate-slash-NCAA opponent, however, he got just enough information in trying to solve the riddle that is LPU. “’Di sila kumpleto as a team nun, pero may mga nakua akong insight,” Master Chief Kent Salado shared.
He then continued, “Siyempre, iba pa rin kung yung team nila mismo maglalaro, pero magagamit ko yun pag nakalaban na namin sila ulit.”
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