CJ Perez and Topex Robinson fell just short of winning a championship during their time together at Lyceum.
Years later, the two hope to have better luck as they reunite at Gilas Pilipinas.
That's exactly the thought running through Perez' mind as player and coach join the national team in the first window of the qualifiers for the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup.
"Di kami nanalo sa finals sa Lyceum ni coach Topex, pero kung maipanalo namin ito, malaking achievement para sa aming dalawa," said the Columbian star.
Perez impressed as a late callup for Gilas in the 2019 Fiba World Cup in Foshan, China then won gold as part of the Gilas 3x3 side in the Southeast Asian Games, earning an invite to be part of the latest iteration of the national pool.
"Parang yung hardwork, nasuklian lang," he said. "Late call ako sa World Cup, tapos gold sa 3x3 sa SEA Games. Yung kumpyansa ko tumaas. Kaya pagtawag sa akin, ginanahan ako agad. Excited ako parati."
Robinson, meanwhile, has been named to the staff of interim coach Mark Dickel where he is joined by Tab Baldwin, who coached Perez briefly at Ateneo.
That development only excites Perez.
"Syempre sobrang saya. Makakasama ko si coach Topex at si coach Tab (Baldwin) din," he said of his former collegiate coaches. "For sure, marami akong matututunan ngayon sa Gilas na ito. Sana maipanalo namin ang games namin."