Topex’s challenge to Pirates: ‘Are we really a squad?’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 16, 2016 06:59 PM
Topex’s challenge to Pirates: ‘Are we really a squad?’
SETTING SAIL. Topex Robinson, once again with an undermanned crew, has LPU's sights still set on a championship.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 4-14, ninth place

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Shaq Alanes, Wilson Baltazar, Jebb Bulawan

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Reymar Caduyac, Harry Nzeusseu

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Noah Lugo, Guy Mbida, Vic Nguidjol

Now entering their sixth season in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Lyceum of the Philippines University is yet to finish better than sixth in the standings.

Despite coming off their most frustrating campaign yet, going 4-12 and going through internal turmoil, the Pirates are confident that their experiences from last year have only strengthened them and will become the cause for their long-awaited, much-desired breakthrough.

Currently, the clouds above them got even darker with the indefinite suspension of expected team captain Dexter Zamora and the severe injury to man in the middle Joseph Gabayni.

Still, perhaps more than any team in the league, their experiences have indeed taught the Intramuros-based squad how to handle adversity. As coach Topex Robinson put it, “They don’t wanna quit. They just wanna keep playing.”

He then continued, “I always tell them that there’s gonna be a lot of adversity, but we just have to fight through that.”

Leading the crew in heeding their ship captain’s call now will be fourth-year players Shaq Alanes and Wilson Baltazar. Following them will be a mostly intact unit that only bid goodbye to Noah Lugo and former foreign students Guy Mbida and Vic Nguidjol.

In the preseason, that mostly intact roster showed the same sort of fight they did a year ago against the best collegiate teams, but just didn’t quite know how to close out contests. Believing that they already have the materials to contend, Robinson is instead looking for his team to play as one.

As he said, “We might have one of the veteran teams right now, but the question is, are we really a squad? Yung kulang namin right now, trusting each other.”

However, nothing is stopping Robinson and his crew from setting their sights on the promised land. “We wanna win the championship, that’s our goal,” he said.

He then continued, “If we’re not looking at winning a championship, there’s no reason for us to practice anymore.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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