THE airing of The Last Dance’ has long ended, but that doesn’t stop Topex Robinson from recalling his playing days in the PBA, specifically his stint with Red Bull.
For a team that thrives on hard work and physical plays to win, Robinson knows very well the Bulls aren’t exactly a fan-friendly team.
But it’s a role the entire unit under coach Yeng Guiao fully embraced.
“When I watched ‘The Last Dance,’ I remember our team back then with coach Yeng (Guiao) kami yung ‘Bad Boys’ during that time,” said Robinson, now head coach of Lyceum University and top deputy of coach Louie Alas at Phoenix.
“And palaging sinasabi sa amin ni coach Yeng ‘kung wala si Paquito Diaz, wala si FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr).’”
And just how tough the Bulls were back then?
Enrico Villanueva, Mick Pennisi, Rich Alvarez, EJ Feihl, and rookie Paolo Bugia manned the slot, Lordy Tugade, Cyrus Baguio, Leo Najorda, Fil-Am Mike Hrabak, and another rookie in Larry Fonacier comprised the wings, while the backcourt was just as resilient with Robinson, Jimwell Torion, Junthy Valenzuela, Celino Cruz, and Warren Ybanez.
The team may have turned off a number of fans with their style of play, but Robinson said the Bulls didn’t mind it.
“Ang saya-saya namiin kasi kami si Paquito Diaz,” said Robinson. “Ang saya-saya namin dahil galit sa amin lahat. Kami yung nasa kabilang side. Kumbaga kami yung Detroit Pistons that time.”
The Bulls played their role to the hilt during the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference when they eliminated crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra in a winner-take-all Game 7 in the semifinals behind the clutch three-point baskets of Cruz and import James Penny in the homestretch.
Red Bull went on to win the championship by beating Purefoods in the finals.
The Bulls made it back-to-back in the finals after clinching a berth in the title series of the Philippine Cup in a rematch with Purefoods. But the Giants scored a payback by beating Red Bull in six games to win the title.
For Robinson though, it was an experience he’ll forever cherish.
“We took pride in it, yung batch namin na yun,” he said. “It really brings out a lot of memories.”