NCAA Finals: It could've been a better Finals -- Robinson
Mark Escarlote on Nov 06, 2018 08:33 PM
The reason it's painful for us is because CJ didn't do anything wrong. Hindi naman siya nag-ligang labas. Kung naglarong labas sana siya at nahuli, I would accept that -- Topex Robinson
Lyceum of the Philippines University head coach Topex Robinson accepted the fact that San Beda University pushed their backs against the wall after taking Game 1 of the NCAA Season 94 seniors basketball Finals.
Robinson admitted that they were shooting bricks, committing turnovers and seemed to have lost the energy and drive while allowing the three-peat seeking Red Lions chase them out of the MOA Arena during the match.
But what ticked the mentor the most was the event that happened outside of the basketball court just 24 hours before tipoff that put a handicap on LPU in the biggest stage of the season.
The Pirates marched into the war without its most important weapon in CJ Perez after the league slapped him with a one-game ban for failing to notify the NCAA that he filed an application for the PBA Draft.
“The reason it's painful for us is because CJ didn't do anything wrong. Hindi naman siya nag-ligang labas. Kung naglarong labas sana siya at nahuli, I would accept that. But I don't know,” said Topex. “The kid didn't do anything wrong.”
Without Perez, LPU was deprived of a player that has been averaging 18.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.3 steals per game.
San Beda won the game, 73-60, and even Red Lions head coach Boyet Fernandez did some math and thought that the complexion of the championship rematch opener could be a bit different if Perez was there.
“With CJ there, if you look at it, we only beat them by 13 so idagdag mo 18 ni CJ, talo pa kami,” said Fernandez.
“It could've been a better Finals,” he said. “It's no guarantee that we're going to win but you want your best player in the game. He deserves to be there. That's just the way I feel.”
“I'm speaking on my behalf, not of the school. I'm speaking as a father to a son that lost an opportunity to play in the Finals,” added a disappointed Robinson. “I don't know how you call it but life is really unfair. We have to accept the fact that again, we have a game to play.”
Robinson also cited a precedent that happened back 11 years ago when then Red Lion Yousif Aljamal got away with a season ban after being drafted in the PBA as No. 8 overall pick by Air21 while the season was still ongoing.
San Beda filed a Temporary Restraining Order and the NCAA retracted from its decision as Aljamal eventually helped the Red Lions win its second title under then mentor Frankie Lim.
“If they had a chance that back in 2007... Kumbaga, if those are the rules, it has to be the rules. Kumbaga, yun lang ako. Wag yung pabago bago. Kung nagawa na yun dati, pinayagan at nagawan ng paraan, yun lang sana,” said Robinson. “I don't want to put the blame on whoever makes those rules. We're just here to follow them I just hope there will be consistency. If there's players at fault, let them face it.
“’Wag nilang itago yung mali at gagawan nila ng paraan. Yun lang sa akin. I'm speaking on my behalf again. If they're gonna hate me, so be it,” he continued. “I'm speaking here not as a coach of LPU but as a father to CJ and I just feel about the pain he has to go through.”
“He's there helplessly watching the game from wherever. Kung may ginawa sanang mali eh. Kung nag-drugs yan o gumawa ng kalokohan.”
LPU will have a week to prepare for a bounce back and Perez will be back in action for Game 2 on Monday.
“We're excited to have CJ back. I hope he doesn't enter the draft again,” said Robinson on a lighter note. “He'll be ready for Game Two.”
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