Topex says he will ‘die trying’to give La Salle championship
Topex Robinson had over 150 unopened notifications in his phone—and those are just the messages that remain unread in his inbox since news of him being named La Salle head coach broke out.
“Everything went by so fast,” he told the Inquirer over the phone while preparing to drive for the Green Archers’ campus in Manila, where he was set to meet other school personnel. “Though I know I have to reach out back to people.”
Robinson plunged into work immediately despite not yet having signed a contract. But it’s not like he minds. He has, after all, a monumental task ahead of him.
“I think this is just me following through with my commitment of knowing what I signed [up] for,” he said. “I know there’d be surprises, but I will never trade an opportunity like this for anything else.”
Robinson is set to call the shots for La Salle’s elite basketball program long starving for a UAAP title. The architect behind two noteworthy runs at the varsity and pro level, Robinson is hoping a formula he devised in two previous coaching stints would work wonders for the fancied Green Archers.
“What I learned from my [Lyceum] stint is at the end of the day, they were just looking for a fatherly figure. It was the same in the [Philippine Basketball Association]. It just happened that those gentlemen [in Phoenix] had more money. They’re still human beings,” he said.
“[I]t’s a school that takes care of their players and demands a lot from them. But they’re also just human beings,” he went on. “So to forge a connection, to take them to a place they want to go—where they can’t go alone? That’s our plan moving forward.”
Robinson inherits a crew teeming with talent. La Salle, going into the next UAAP season, will be bannered by Gilas cadet Kevin Quiambao, Mythical Team member Michael Phillips, and spitfire guard Evan Nelle.
That bunch, on paper, already screams talent, but that is such a simplistic way of looking according to the eloquent mentor.
“I’m clear of my whys in coaching. Again, at the end of the day, they are human beings. They may have the best talent in the world, but if we’re not connected, we cannot maximize that talent … If we’re not able to play the right tune, we are not going to be a united front so this talent will just be a group, that’s gonna be put to waste.”
Robinson believes that to truly unlock La Salle’s potential is to have lofty goals. And he is doing just that. This early.
“I don’t want to say we’ll just be OK because I’m a newcomer. I’m not going to sell that crap. La Salle has a vision and if I’m not going to align myself with that, then we’re already in opposing directions,” he said.
“That we’re new, and adjusting, no one’s going to believe that. [not] even us,” he said. “I’ll cut the crap telling all you that. These people I serve are successful people who know how to win.”
“Obviously we want to win a championship. It’s either you win a championship or you die trying. I don’t want to play it safe, because if we say we’re fine if we just made the Final Four—are you serious? I’m here to win a championship. People may say I’m arrogant, but every day I’m going to die trying.
The new UAAP season is over half a year away, but Robinson intends to have his charges get as many competitions as they can to get primed for the mission.
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