FOR all the hype surrounding his team entering NCAA Season 93, Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson stays grounded as he has far bigger goals beyond wins on the basketball court.
The Pirates – a team that’s never gone past the eight-win mark since joining the NCAA in 2011 – are expected to be the toughest challenger to San Beda’s title defense after a strong preseason showing.
With a stacked line-up, led by the returning CJ Perez and last year’s rookie of the year in Mike Harry Nzesseu, the opportunity is finally up for the taking.
But before looking ahead to their performance on the court, Robinson is keeping his on shaking things up and instilling education as the top priority for his student-athletes.
“I only have five holdovers from last year because I really have to change something that I don’t see that coincides with my belief,” Robinson said referring to Nzeusseu, Mer Ayaay, Wilson Baltazar, Edcor Marata and Reymar Caduyac.
“I really pounded a lot on their studies. Again, that’s a way of caring for them. Pagka alam nilang may malasakit ka sa kanila, mas madali silang susunod sa’yo,” he added.
What Robinson is doing is more than forming a competitive basketball program for the school, but providing the opportunity to improve the lives of the young men entrusted to him.
With 13 years of playing experience under his belt, Robinson is paying it forward in teaching the young Pirates skills and developing values they can use beyond the basketball court.
“Reality is basketball is not the answer. I’ve played in the PBA. I’ve won championships, but it’s not gonna guarantee I’m not gonna work for the rest of my life. So how you use basketball is really, yun yung I always try to remind them, you have to use it right,” said Robinson.
“You have to make sure hindi mo ginamit yun para sa sarili mo but to serve others. Yun yung parati kong inaano sa kanila. Pag hindi mo siya binigyan ng halaga, masasayang yung gift sa’yo,” he added.
More than a coach, Robinson would rather be a role model and a father figure to his wards, something that he believes is starting to work positively for the team’s chemistry, which shows in their fine preseason play.
“It’s not about basketball anymore and I’m trying to help these kids to have a better future. I should have a positive impact on their lives. If that means if I need to be hard on them, I’ll be hard on them. If that means I’ll be open with them, cause they know that I’m doing this, hindi para sakin, but for them,” Robinson said.
“It’s deeper now when you talk to players. Before, ‘bakit ka late?’ ‘traffic eh’ Pero ngayon they tell you about, ‘ah may problema sa pamilya,’ It really is something that opened up their hearts,” he added. “The goal is to win the championship, but that’s a short term goal eh. The vision is for them to be better individuals pagalis nila ng LPU.”