LPU is still here to contend and, more importantly, to inspire

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 28, 2018 07:22 PM
LPU still here to contend and, more importantly, to inspire
The vision and mission have not changed for LPU

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 18-2 overall, top-seed after eliminations, runner-up

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: MJ Ayaay, Jaycee Marcelino, Jayvee Marcelino, Mike Nzeusseu, CJ Perez

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Germy Mahinay, Casper Pericas, Ranzhelle Yong

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Wilson Baltazar, Pipoy Marata

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM LPU?

LPU, the first-ever team in the history of the country’s first and oldest league, to go 18-0 in the elimination round, did not lose a player of note as it tries again to capture its first-ever championship.

Only veteran sniper Wilson Baltazar and heady guard Pipoy Marata have used up their eligibility and replacing them will be two among Team B standouts Casper Pericas and Ranzhelle Yong or former San Beda High big Germy Mahinay.

That means that the core, the truly terrifying fivesome of Season MVP CJ Perez, Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu, team leader MJ Ayaay, and two-way twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino, is very well intact.

Not only that, that truly terrifying fivesome is a year older, a year wiser and they have championship winning experience in both the Philippine Collegiate Champions League and the PBA D-League.

Moreover, Pericas, a scoring guard who has been lighting up preseason leagues, and Yong, a do-it-all forward who had transferred from San Sebastian and Letran, wouldn’t be bad additions – so, as they say, the rich could only get richer.

“There’s so much potential in this team. I think the lessons that we’ve learned just made us a better group. After that season, we won championships also and it’s just a testament to the fact that you have to stick to what works for you.” – head coach Topex Robinson

WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM LPU?

CJ Perez has been NCAA Season MVP and PBA D-League Conference MVP. While he is not one to say he wants another individual award, the mere fact that he could only improve will put him back in front of the pack in the MVP race.

Alongside Perez, MJ Ayaay will also be showcased as head coach Topex Robinson has not shied away from saying that he and his staff would do all they could to help their graduating players get to the next level.

“As much as possible, we want to build that tradition that we in LPU, we’re not just using you for our benefit. Our vision is to help you even after your college years. Again, it’s about giving back.” – head coach Topex Robinson

But eyes, however, should be fixed on Jaycee Marcelino who, at times in the PBA D-League, looked like the team’s primary offensive threat. With that, he could very well ascend to the top of the list of the league’s best point guards.

WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR LPU?

LPU was THE feel-good story in all of college a season ago.

“Our mindset is to make sure that we’re doing the right things. It’s not gonna be a guarantee na it’s gonna be a historic season for us and it’s not even a guarantee na we’re gonna be in the Finals, but what’s important for us is we continue what we started – building a program that will help these players in the future.” – head coach Topex Robinson

The Pirates are now, no doubt, a powerhouse, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are yet to win the big one in their mother league. That makes them, at the end of the day, the underdog to defending champion and dynastic San Beda.

“We don’t just want to follow Ateneo or La Salle which have successful basketball programs, but we want Ateneo and La Salle to also look at what we do.” – head coach Topex Robinson

WHERE WOULD LPU BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 94?

It will be a rematch of San Beda-LPU in the Finals. The top two teams from last season are both intact and they will meet again for all the marbles in the championship round of this season.

WHEN IS LPU’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 94?

LPU battles emerging rival San Sebastian on July 7 at the MOA Arena. You already know the story – Pirates mentor Topex Robinson is an alumnus and was a former head coach of the Golden Stags.

As always, all of the #GalingNCAA will be on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD, and livestream.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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