Topex Robinson had more than 150 unopened notifications on his phone — and those are the only messages left unread in his inbox since he was named La Salle’s head coach.
“Everything went by so fast,” he told the Inquirer by phone as he prepared to drive to the Green Archers’ campus in Manila, where he was ready to meet other school officials. To reach back to the people.”
Robinson immediately plunged into work, despite not yet signing a contract. But it is not as he thinks. After all, he has a monumental task ahead of him.
“I think it’s just me following through on my commitment to what I signed. [up] For,” he said. “I know there will be surprises, but I would never trade an opportunity like this for anything else.”
Robinson is ready to call the shots for La Salle’s elite basketball program that has long been hungry for a UAAP title. The architect behind two remarkable runs at the varsity and pro levels, Robinson is hoping a formula he devised in two previous coaching stints will work wonders for the Green Archers.
“What I learned from myself. [Lyceum] At the end of the day, he was just looking for a father figure. I was like that too. [Philippine Basketball Association]. It just happened that those gentlemen [in Phoenix] had more money. They are still human,” he said.
“[I]This is a school that cares about its players and demands a lot from them. But they’re only human, too,” he went on. “So to make a connection, to take them where they want to go—where they can’t go alone? That’s our plan going forward.”
Robinson inherits a staff loaded with talent. La Salle, heading into the next UAAP season, will be bannered by Gilas cadet Kevin Quimbau, legendary team member Michael Phillips, and Spitfire guard Evan Neale.
That bunch, on paper, already screams talent, but it’s such an easy way to watch, according to the eloquent mentor.
“I’m clear about my reasons for coaching. Again, at the end of the day, they’re human. They may have the best talent in the world, but if we’re not connected, we’re not maximizing that talent. Can’t expand… If we’re not able to play the right tunes, we’re not going to be a united front so let this talent just be a group, it’s going to be wasted.
Ability to unlock
Robinson believes that truly unlocking La Salle’s potential has lofty goals. And he is doing just that. This skin.
“I don’t want to say we’re going to be okay because I’m a newcomer. I’m not going to sell this shit. La Salle has a vision and if I don’t align myself with that, then We are already in opposite directions,” he said.
“That we are new, and adjusting, no one will believe it. [not] Even us,” he said. “I’ll cut the crap telling you all that. The 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 OK if we just make the Final Four. Are you serious? I’m here to win a championship. People might say I’m arrogant, but I’m going to die trying every day.
The new UAAP season is more than half a year away, but Robinson plans to give his charges as many matches as possible so they can be primed for the mission.
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