STANDING at 5-foot-7, Topex Robinson knew him being part of the national team will always be a longshot.
He has never been called up despite playing eight seasons in the PBA and winning two titles.
But him being invited to be a part of Mark Dickel's staff for Gilas Pilipinas in the February window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup, Robinson still feels surreal with this latest opportunity.
"I still can't believe that I'm really here. It's just something I dreamed about," the Lyceum mentor shared. "But waking up to my senses, this is the best opportunity for me to learn. With coach Alex (Compton), coach Tab (Baldwin) and his tons of knowledge, the blessing of being part of this is something that I'm really grateful for. This is one thing I could put in my checklist of achievements as a young coach."
Grateful as Robinson is, he knows that this break also comes with its own set of obligations.
"What comes with that is the responsibility din. You can't just be happy to be here. You have to prove that you're worthy of the opportunity given to you. Anything to do with service is something I'm gonna be happy to have," he said.
This also reunites him with his former player CJ Perez, whom he handled during their time with the Pirates.
One year removed from their partnership, Robinson still feels pride being able to coach a talent like Perez.
"Anyway I could get close to this kid is gonna be something special for me," said Robinson, who himself was the one to pack Perez's bags from Ateneo before they started a new chapter in Lyceum.
"The relationship that we've built, this is gonna solidify that relationship. It's something that I'm excited about. Everything he has achieved is something he worked for. He's blessed with the talent, pero ang nagkaiba doon is kung ano ang ginawa niya sa talent na binigay sa kanya. I'm just happy for him."
Robinson's excitement, however, isn't limited to just Perez as he looks forward in working with this immense talent in the Gilas pool.
"Being with the guys that I look up to, yung mga dating players you wish you were coaching, ito na yung pagkakataon. I'll get a chance to mentor them and guide them. That's what I'm excited about," he said.