MANILA, Philippines – New La Salle coach Topex Robinson is embracing the pressure of fulfilling the “championship or bust” goal for the Green Archers in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament that starts this weekend at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Robinson, who took over the coaching reins at La Salle last January, admitted he was given a marching order to win the UAAP championship, which the school has missed since 2017.
“I just had a meeting with one of our managers. He just said it’s all about winning a championship,” Robinson told reporters. “With this color it requires a lot of responsibility. And we always want to make sure that we prepare this team to always be at its best on every occasion that we can. Making sure we are proud of our colors.”
The former PBA player turned coach accepts the challenge, believing it is part of the opportunity presented to him “to coach a successful program like DLSU.”
‘Just like they said: there are always two people in this world. Winners and losers. No snack. You should always try to be the best, no one wants to associate themselves with losers,” said Robinson. “It’s a responsibility we have to take as a staff and we’re lucky to be winners here, so it’s a matter of working together and guiding this team into the final.”
The Green Archers missed the Season 85 Final Four after finishing with a 7-7 record and losing to the Adamson Falcons in the playoff for the No. 4 seed. The new La Salle coach said his departments, led of holdovers Kevin Quiambao, Evan Nelle and Ben and Mike Phillips, eager to redeem themselves from a disappointing finish.
“The players know the responsibility of representing DLSU and they always hear this from everyone. It is the norm and we always try to be at our best,” Robinson said. “Since we started training camp, on my first day, Kevin, Evan, Joaqui (Manuel) and the Phillips brothers talked to me and just told me about the responsibility. And the great thing about it is that it is a collective responsibility. It won’t just be one player or one coach, but everyone. so the task is big and I think we’re just happy to have that kind of responsibility.
“We have guys who are real winners, so that makes me excited and the confidence is clearly there in both directions. I’ve been with winners like these players and it’s just a matter of passing it on and really making it a habit or the character that we want to build. Hopefully we keep the tradition alive and just keep winning,” he added.
The 48-year-old Robinson, who led Lyceum to the NCAA finals in 2016 and 2017, said he is grateful to inherit coach Derick Pumaren’s program, where the players are eager to prove themselves after two straight heartbreaking games. seasons.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to lead the team and I hope that, apart from injuries and all these problems, we can be a really good, competitive team,” said the veteran coach. “We have an experienced team, so they have been through a lot. They know the feeling of not making it, so it’s really a given for them that they really want to prove themselves this season.”
Robinson will make his UAAP debut on Sunday when La Salle takes on Far Eastern University at the MOA Arena on Sunday.