MANILA, Philippines -- Longtime assistant Jeff Perlas has officially been promoted as head coach of the Lyceum of the Philippines University men's basketball program, having been the handpicked choice of Topex Robinson to take over his post.
Robinson has built the program from the ground up and steered them to back-to-back finals appearances in the NCAA in 2017 and 2018, but stepped down from the position after he was named interim head coach of the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters in the PBA.
He immediately tabbed Perlas as his successor, with the support of the school. Robinson will still remain as the director of basketball operations for the entire Lyceum system. He will also serve as a team consultant.
This will be the first-ever head coaching stint in the NCAA for the 43-year-old Perlas, but he will be armed with a wealth of experience. A product of the Philippine School of Business Administration, Perlas started his coaching career as an assistant to Mon Kallos in 2004.
He also became part of the coaching staff in Centro Escolar University (2008-10), head coach of Jubilee Christian Academy's grade school and high school teams (2007-12) and Trace College's college squad (2007-09).
He also worked with Eric Altamirano in National University from 2013-14, and was part of the Bulldogs staff that steered the Bulldogs to the UAAP title in Season 77. In 2015, Perlas joined Robinson's coaching staff in Lyceum as his lead assistant.
"Siyempre, human nature na if may ganung kumpyansa 'yung head mo, 'yung boss mo, you have to give it back. Being his first assistant, I always made sure na madali buhay niya. It's our job to make his life easier, from practice plan to program kami na gumagawa nun," Perlas said of working with Robinson.
As Lyceum's new head coach, Perlas plans to pick up from where Robinson left off and maintain the "Love, Serve, Care" culture that has been established in the program.
"'Yun 'yung na-establish niya e. Ang pinakamahirap na ma-establish sa isang team is 'yung culture. Once you have that, madali na magturo ng Xs and Os," said Perlas. "Kaya everytime na kumukuha kami ng new recruits, we look at their character."
"A little tweak lang siguro sa sistema na ginagawa namin but the 'Love, Serve, and Care' culture will remain. Maybe upgrade it a little bit," he added.
Perlas will be helped by Rommel Adducul, Gilbert Malabanan, Ricky Reyes, and Kevin Lacap in his coaching staff.
In Season 96, Lyceum will be led by veterans Reymar Caduyac, Renzo Navarro, and Jayson David. Transferee Alvin Baetiong will also join the Pirates to go along with rookies Mac Guadana, John Barba, and Matthew Bravo.