SAN Sebastian will be without head coach Topex Robinson when the Stags try to add to the misery of College St. Benilde on Thursday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Stags take on the still-winless Blazers at 6 p.m. without Robinson, who is set to miss the first of two San Sebastian games as he is currently in Los Angeles with the Alaska Aces in their bonus trip for winning the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship.
In the absence of Robinson, who is also an assistant at Alaska, deputy Raymond Valenzona will be calling the shots and assisted by consultant Bai Cristobal, for the Stags, who hold a 2-2 (win-loss) record.
“I know this team is in good hands,” said Robinson, whose team is coming off a 10-day break following a thrilling 78-77 overtime victory over University of Perpetual Help.
Bannered by prolific newcomers in Jamil Ortuoste, Bradwyn Guinto, CJ Perez, and Leo de Vera, the Stags face a hapless Benilde side that lost another heartbreaker against Letran, 61-60, on Saturday.
The Blazers, who have a combined losing margin of five points in their four losses, hope to put an end to their worst start since 2004 when they lost their first 11 games.
Perpetual Help, meanwhile, guns for a share of second place with defending champion San Beda when it faces Arellano earlier at 4 p.m.
The Altas, who carry a 3-1 record, boast of sensational rookie swingman in Juneric Baloria, but will continue to lean on their unheralded but hard-working veterans led by Harold Arboleda.
Arboleda, the Altas’ skipper and starting small forward, has been putting up double-doubles consistently and continued to be in the good graces of coach Aric del Rosario after another solid performance in his team’s 71-66 win over Lyceum last Saturday.
“Lagi naman binabanggit sa akin ni coach na kung gusto ko tumagal sa court, dapat ako rumebound at dumepensa. At sa araw-araw na ginawagawa namin, talagang pinag-hihirapan ko ito,” Arboleda said.
Arboleda and rest of the Altas are set to face an Arellano side that beat Mapua, 65-59, last Thursday.
The Chiefs are tied with San Sebastian and Lyceum at 2-2.