Topex refuses to be awed by awesome Phoenix start
Phoenix Super LPG is off to a sterling start in the PBA bubble inside Clark Freeport, but interim coach Topex Robinson will be the first one to say that it is not something to gloat about.
“Yeah, mile markers are important. But we’re here to play the infinite game,” Robinson, who was asked to take over less than a month ago after the Fuel Masters and Louie Alas had a celebrated parting of ways, said.
In a sport where numbers drive the narrative, decisions, and even careers, Robinson hopes the Fuel Masters could make a mark by just enjoying the game while inside this confined atmosphere.
“There’s no winning and losing in the infinite game. If you’re gonna put mile markers upon yourself, you lose sight of what’s next,” he said. “You know, we had a checklist coming into this bubble, No. 1 there is joy—we want to enjoy this. The other is fulfillment. [Then] competitiveness.”
Robinson said the “joy” part comes front and center as it was the very thing that kept them afloat in their first two games—during the rout of Meralco last Monday and then that character-defining edging of NorthPort just two days later in the eliminations of the Philippine Cup, the only tournament that will be played in the season shuttered for 217 days by the coronavirus pandemic.
And Phoenix’s interim mentor hopes—and wants his team—to have that same focus when the Fuel Masters go up against another undefeated side in TNT at 4 p.m. on Monday.
“We want to keep on competing regardless of who we’re going against,” he said. “We’re not out there to ‘beat TNT.’ We’re there to play our game,” he said as the Fuel Masters have managed to make do even with waiting for the indefinite suspension of star forward Calvin Abueva to end.
Abueva was allowed by the PBA to be in the bubble and be a practice player for Phoenix, but pending the completion of several other requirements ever since his suspension was enforced more than 15 months ago, his return to playing is still a question mark heading into Week 2 of the 45th Season reboot.
The Tropang Giga, no offense to the other undefeated teams, have been the most impressive squad thus far. They played the first game in the bubble and shook off some opening half rust to rally past Alaska last Oct. 11.