LYCEUM knew that expectations are at an all-time high this NCAA Season 94, especially after that miraculous turnaround last year.
And with the Pirates being branded as contenders, the bullseye on their backs couldn’t get any bigger.
But if there’s one thing coach Topex Robinson prides himself in, it’s that he has prepared this team in every way he against their upset-hungry foes regardless of how bright the lights are.
“Every time we’re gonna play anybody, they’re always gonna play their best. So that’s our responsibility now being up there, everybody really wants to give their best against us,” he said.
On Saturday, it was Mike Nzeusseu who came to play in Lyceum’s 85-80 victory over San Sebastian, posting a 20-20 game right in the squad’s first game of the season.
“Before the game, coach reminded us that this was our first game in MOA, and as much as we’re excited, we want to be aggressive and make sure we set the tone,” the Cameroonian said.
Nzeusseu did just that, braving through the nerves and excitement playing for the first time at Mall of Asia Arena and posted 23 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, and a block to tow the Pirates to the season-opening win.
Robinson knew that with Lyceum being the favored side in the tiff, San Sebastian would come hot off the gates firing. And for his side, it was all a matter of settling down to be able to play their game – something that the Intramuros side succeeded in doing late to eke out the W.
“They were the grittier group against sa amin. They know that man for man, they don’t really have anybody to match up with us. But they really did well as a team,” he said of the Golden Stags. “So we just have to be more composed. I think that was the one that brought us back. We just played fire with fire them. We’re lucky that we got this win.”
As much promise as this first triumph brought, Nzeusseu said that there’s still a lot of things the Pirates can improve on, with this game further highlighting the team’s need to take care of the ball more after committing 29 turnovers.
“We had a lot of turnovers, so we need to learn from it and be better the next game,” he said. “As what coach always reminds us, we don’t compete any team. We’re competing against ourselves. We had to remind ourselves that. We were tight and we just had to play loose.”