NCAA Season 91 preview: Little-known Pirates hoping to thrive under new system
Head Coach: Topex Robinson
Last season: 7-11 (7th place)
Key losses: Coach Bonnie Tan, Dexter Zamora, Shane Ko
Key returnees: Joseph Gabayni, Jebb Bulawan, Guy Mbida
Key additions: Noah Lugo
If Topex Robinson thought that his crew in San Sebastian was a bunch of no namers, what more for this Lyceum group that he is about to handle?
For the affable coach, the obscurity of the team he will lead this season is actually a positive thing.
“I don’t want them to be recognized as individuals. I want them to be known as Lyceum. I want them to feel to be part of something bigger than themselves, which is the team,” said Robinson.
The Pirates squad Robinson inherited from coach Bonnie Tan doesn’t really lack the talent, as evidenced by the rise of Joseph Gabayni and Jebb Bulawan as key contributors in last year’s run. And these two will still be at the forefront of the battle for Lyceum each game this season.
“We want to go high-percentage. You have to maximize having a Gabayni or Bulawan in our team. Most of our offense will really be centered in our bigs. We really want to play the paint game. We want to capitalize on that,” said Robinson, who is also looking to get significant contributions from foreign players Guy Mbida and Jean Nguidjol.
However, the challenge still remains for the coach to carry over the feisty attitude he instilled to the Stags and replicate it with the Pirates.
“For us, we’re a new team and a new system, it’s all about winning. We set ourselves to be a competitive group,” he said.
“It’s more on my brand of basketball. I played basketball capitalizing on defense. We still want to score, but defensively, we want the other teams something to prepare for knowing that we’re gonna be a defensive machine coming into this season.”
And by doing just that, Robinson is hoping that Lyceum will leave its mark on its first year as a full-fledged member of the NCAA.
“We’re always gonna give our best basketball, play with integrity, win and lose the right way,” he said. “Our goal is to not just to win games, but to earn the respect of the basketball community.” CFC
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