MANILA — De La Salle University will have a fresh start in the incoming UAAP Season 86.
The Taft-based squad, who finished in fifth place last season after being defeated by Adamson University in the battle for fourth seed, is now being spearheaded by its new head coach Topex Robinson. Its core is composed of Kevin Quiambao, Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, and brothers Mike and Ben Phillips.
As cliché as it may sound, Robinson, who is coming in place of DLSU’s former mentor Derrick Pumaren, said that his squad’s sole focus this season is finally reclaiming the UAAP hoops crown which they haven’t won since 2016.
“It’s all about winning a championship. This color requires a lot of responsibilities,” said the former Phoenix Fuel Masters head tactician Wednesday at the league’s media conference at the MOA Arena.
“We always want to make sure that we prepare this team to always be at its best in any opportunity that we can, and make sure that we make our colors proud.”
Robinson explained that ahead of the press conference, some of La Salle's team managers expressed to him and his players that this year is a championship-or-nothing season for La Salle.
“There are only two people in this world, winners and losers, no in between. So you always strive to be the best, nobody wants to associate themselves with losers,” he said.
“I don’t wanna pretend that I would say na Final Four [is our only] goal. It doesn’t work that way here.”
“Again, it’s a responsibility that we have to take as a staff, and I’m so fortunate to have the coaches that are here that are winners,” he added.
Also adding fuel to the fire is how they missed the semifinals last season, further extending their bid to return to the league’s championship round, and Robinson is hoping that the team will be healthy enough to compete and dominate the UAAP yet again.
“It’s always been [added motivation]. Players know the responsibility to represent DLSU, that’s why we always try to be at our best.”
“I hope that barring injuries, hopefully, we could really be a good, competitive team.”