Robinson has Lyceum all set to sail to uncharted territory

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 24, 2015 01:06 PM
Robinson has Lyceum all set to sail to uncharted territory
SMOOTH SAILING. After a turbulent final season from Recto, Topex Robinson is eager to start his new voyage with Lyceum.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 7-11, seventh

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Jebb Bulawan, Joseph Gabayni, Guy Mbida

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Due Lacastesantos (returning), Jean Nguidjol, Topex Robinson (head coach), Rommel Adducul (assistant coach), Gary David (consultant)

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Shane Kho, Dexter Zamora (out for season)

When apparent team leader and go-to-guy Dexter Zamora tore his ACL in late May, it all looked like Lyceum of the Philippines University’s first season as an official member of the NCAA and Topex Robinson’s first campaign from Intramuros was headed nowhere but rough seas.

Indeed, the Pirates stumbled to a 1-7 finish in the 2015 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament and looked very much like a team still searching for an identity. Robinson could do nothing but agree as he told ABS-CBN Sports, “I’ve only been here five months so there’s still a lot of work to do to get everybody on the same page.”

However, the former San Sebastian coach and PBA veteran said their preseason experience was all part of the learning process. “Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘Alam niyo na ngayon kung ano ilalaro natin para maging 1-7. Now you know what to do para mag-iba yung outcome,’” he said.

Moreover, Robinson remained adamant that the boys he inherited from Bonnie Tan were more than ready to better their 7-11 record in the last NCAA season. “They have the materials already. Yung competitive nature ng team is already there and that’s only good for us,” he said.

The materials the Lyceum mentor is talking about is headlined by a pillar in the middle by the name of Joseph Gabayni. The second-year center averaged a double-double the last time around with 12.6 points and 11.5 rebounds and can only be expected to build on those numbers as he gets to be featured more in the offense.

Flanking him will be a couple of capable forwards in Guy Mbida and Jebb Bulawan while Due Lacastesantos returns to steady the point guard spot after not suiting up last season. Asked who will take over for Zamora as go-to-guy, Robinson said, “I don’t wanna depend on particular players.”

The more important offseason bolstering, however, is at the Lyceum bench. Headlined by Robinson, who kept San Sebastian as contenders in the post-Pinatubo Trio era, the coaching staff now also includes former MBA and PBA star Rommel Adducul and current Meralco player Gary David who also happens to be the most recognizable former Pirate.

Although remaining upbeat, Robinson offered no predictions or expectations for his boys. What he promised the Intramuros-based school is that their team will be competitive as he said, “We’re gonna play our game no matter what. Whether we’re down by 50 or up by 20, we’re gonna play the same all the time.”

Lyceum starts their NCAA Season 91 campaign against Perpetual on June 30 at the San Juan Arena. The game will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 at 2:00 PM and will also be streamed LIVE on ABS-CBN


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