MANILA, Philippines – Much of Lyceum of the Philippines University's success in the past couple of years has been attributed to their fast-paced style of play, as the Pirates thrive on running their opponents off the court and pouncing on their mistakes for easy opportunities.
In NCAA Season 95, Lyceum coach Topex Robinson stressed that they will focus on being the league's fastest team, especially as they continue to play without Cameroonian big man Mike Nzeusseu who is still out with a fractured index finger.
"(We're) hoping that the teams will not catch up to our quickness," said Robinson.
One of the most important players in Robinson's team, however, is the man who slows the Pirates down rather than speeds them up. Veteran guard Reymar Caduyac, whom Robinson fondly calls "Speedy Bagal," knows just how to change the pace for Lyceum, how to stabilize them when they are getting too frantic, and how to slow down the game when it gets too fast even for the NCAA's quickest team.
"Kontra nga, because he's super slow," Robinson said of Caduyac. "And again, he's always been the speedy-bagal of the team."
"But again, Caduyac is really a gem of a find for us, he just keeps everything composed," he added. "Kumbaga kung lahat 150 ang speed, sa kanya nasa-100 siya. So siya 'yung taga-pigil sa lahat."
Caduyac played his role to perfection on Sunday, when he steered the Pirates to a hard-earned 84-80 triumph over Colegio de San Juan de Letran in their first game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The guard scattered 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, along with 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and helped spark the Pirates' fiery wind-up that erased a five-point deficit with under four minutes left to play.
Not only that, Caduyac also helped the Pirates in guarding Letran's burly center, Larry Muyang.
"He even offered to guard Muyang. Sabi ko, tutal sa weight naman magkasing-size kayo," Robinson joked. "But kidding aside, again, he's just the epitome of what this team is about."
"What we don't have is the height, but what we do have is strength and the guys playing together and playing as one," he added.
Caduyac made light of his offer to guard Muyang, pointing out that he did so because their front-liners were already in foul trouble. He also gave plenty of credit to his teammates for allowing him to still keep up with them, despite his limitations.
"Give credit na rin sa mga kasama ko kasi sinusuportahan ko sila, sinusuportahan din nila ako," said Caduyac.
"Kumbaga, kung gaano kabilis sila, pagdating sa akin, ganoon din ako sa bagal, kaya okay lang din naman sa kanila 'yung ganoon eh. Tanggap naman nila kung gaano ako kabilis," he added.
As for his coach's "speedy-bagal" jokes?
"Wala," said Caduyac. "Tatawa lang naman ako."
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