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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Robinson proves he can win at college level

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Michael “Topex” Robinson at first doubted himself that he can win a collegiate championship as a coach.

A decade of frustration in his efforts to steer three collegiate squads in the National Collegiate Athletic Association to a crown made him question himself and his ability as a coach through the years.

But Robinson’s feelings of uncertainty ended on Wednesday evening when his La Salle Green Archers stood their ground in Game 3 to post a 73-69 triumph over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.

This earned the Green Archers their 10th crown in league history after waiting for seven years, when they last took it in 2016 as they snared the 86th University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ men’s basketball championship.

“This is my first championship as a collegiate head coach after so many tries. And again, I just don’t wanna give up. You just don’t wanna doubt yourself that you don’t have the courage to move forward,” said the 48-year-old Robinson.

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Robinson started his collegiate coaching career as head coach of the San Sebastian College Stags from 2011 to 2014 for a school where he played for in college.

The Stags made it to the finals on his first year as a coach, following a 16-2 win-loss record in the eliminations. SSC beat Letran in the semis, but lost to San Beda in the finals.

The Robinson-coached Stags then bowed to the Knights in the semis the following year in 2012.

In 2013, the Knights once again beat the Stags in the Final Four. On his final year in 2014, the Stags settled for eighth place.

From 2015 to 2019, Robinson spent his time molding a good Lyceum Pirates’ squad, which placed ninth in its first two years, before being unbeaten for 18 games in the eliminations, losing to the Red Lions twice in the fight for the championship on his third year.

The Pirates, under Robinson, still had a good run in 2018 when they once again made to the finals against the Red Lions, but settled for another runner-up honors.

In 2019, the Pirates were again impressive, making it to the finals, but settling for second place behind the Letran Knights.

After spending three years handling the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the PBA, Robinson tried his hand again in the collegiate scene.

It became a memorable season for Robinson, as he worked on a crew led by 6’6” slotman Kevin Quiambao, a leader of a point guard in Evan Nelle, and a fired-up support group, spearheaded by Michael Philips.

The Green Archers would go on to win nine games from the eliminations to the Final Four, before they suffered the worst Finals loss in the Final Four era in the opener but winning the next two afterwards.

This gave Robinson the confidence that he can steer teams into winning championships.

Leaning on the duo of Quiambao and Nelle allowed the Green Archers to stand their ground against the Fighting Maroons in the final moments of the game.

Because of this, Robinson proudly holds the honor of having handled a La Salle team that earned a title, alongside Franz Pumaren, Juno Sauler and Aldin Ayo.

“I’m so grateful and honored to be a part of this amazing group of guys. Also, we have to credit the coaches who came before me and built this team. They’ve done a tremendous job and I’m just so grateful for these guys that were with me throughout the season. Can’t thank enough also the coaches,” added Robinson.

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