JOSEPH Gabayni was looking at a full game riding the bench but with the ejection of big man Jean Nguidjol, Lyceum coach Topex Robinson didn’t have much of a choice.
Benched in the early goings for being late for practice before the game, Gabayni responded when his number was called in the second half and came up with 11 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action in the Pirates’ win over the St. Benilde Blazers.
[See Shaq Alanes nails late triple as Pirates turn back Blazers for first win in NCAA]
“He was late (for practice),” said Robinson, who admitted he had planned to keep Gabayni on the bench the entire game.
“I was really planning on not playing him. But he paid his dues. I told him that he is a grown man. He knows the consequences of his action.”
Gabayni hit two crucial free throws with a minute remaining in the game to give Lyceum a 67-66 lead.
“He was professional enough and played his best basketball,” said Robinson, even joking that Gabayni can be late again in practice if it leads to a win.
“Kung mananalo kami ng ganun, gusto ko na ma-late na siya lagi,” Robinson said.
He’s joking, of course.
St. Benilde took the lead on a Jonathan Grey triple before Alanes lifted the Pirates with a trey with 6.7 seconds to play for the win.