La Salle makes it official: It’s Topex
The plan that was hatched since La Salle left its former coach unsigned last year has finally been completed.
Topex Robinson, who everyone had fingered as the next Archers coach when he parted ways with Phoenix in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), will return to the college scene as La Salle’s coach for this year’s UAAP season.
“De La Salle University is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Christopher “Topex” Robinson as head coach of the Men’s Basketball Team effective today January 19, 2023,” La Salle said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The 48-year-old Robinson is making his first UAAP stint with the Green Archers after leaving a mark in the PBA and NCAA—both as a player and coach.
It had been heavily speculated that Robinson would assume the head coaching position of La Salle after the school did not renew the contract of veteran mentor Derrick Pumaren, who coached the Archers for the last two seasons, at the end of last year. And when Robinson opted not to renew with the Fuel Masters, many saw that as the sign that a deal between both parties was imminent.
As many as five or six coaches were considered for the post, a source told the Inquirer, but Robinson stood out as a favorite throughout the selection process. Two sources told the Inquirer that only Meralco assistant coach Luigi Trillo and La Salle women’s mentor Cholo Villanueva came close to being considered. Villanueva is likely to be part of the coaching staff in a still undetermined capacity.
Robinson called the shots for San Sebastian College from NCAA Seasons 87 to 90 with a runner-up finish in his first year as a coach of the team led by Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang and Ronald Pascual.
The ex-Stag took his act to Intramuros and steered the CJ Perez-led Lyceum to a historic 18-game elimination round sweep for an outright Finals appearance in Season 93 only to lose the series to San Beda.
Robinson will inherit a talented La Salle roster bannered by UAAP Season 85 top rookie Kevin Quiambao, former Mythical team member Michael Phillips, ex-San Beda star Evan Nelle and former University of Santo Tomas spitfire Mark Nonoy.
Insiders said La Salle was high on Robinson’s ability to build character within his teams and patiently teach players to anchor a winning program.
La Salle finished the last season with an even 7-7 record, but missed the Final Four after losing to Adamson, 80-76, in a knockout match.
“DLSU extends its appreciation to former head coach Derrick Pumaren for his dedicated service to the Green Archers,” the team statement said.
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