MANILA, Philippines -- When Topex Robinson took over the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) basketball program in 2014, the school was not known for sending players to the PBA.
Its most famous alumni in the professional league were Ato Agustin and Gary David, but Lyceum had not made a ripple in recent drafts while also languishing in the lower half of the NCAA standings.
Since then, however, Robinson helped change the culture at Lyceum, establishing the Pirates as a perennial contender in the NCAA. He steered the team to back-to-back finals appearances in 2017 and 2018, both times losing to San Beda University.
While he could not lead the Pirates to an NCAA title, Robinson did accomplish one of his other goals in developing his players into PBA-caliber talents. Lyceum's biggest star, CJ Perez, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft and went on to win Rookie of the Year while earning First Mythical Team honors last year.
Lyceum captain Jesper Ayaay was also drafted by Alaska last year. In 2019, twins Jaycee and Jayvee Marcelino went to Alaska and NLEX, respectively, before Jayvee signed a contract with Phoenix. The Fuel Masters also selected Ralph Tansingco. Veterans Jeffrey Santos, Spencer Pretta, and Dexter Zamora were all drafted.
"I'm so grateful because I think one of the things with LPU, when we started that program five years ago, is (we wanted) to produce PBA players," said Robinson, who will now serve as Lyceum's consultant upon his promotion to interim head coach of Phoenix.
"We are so blessed to have produced PBA players na rin. Andyan sila Jaycee, si Ayaay," he noted during an appearance on "2OT."
Marcelino and Tansingco won't join the Fuel Masters in the PBA's bubble in Clark, but Robinson assured that they are "still gonna be part of our team."
Although he is no longer Lyceum's head coach -- Jeff Perlas, his longtime assistant, will take on that role -- Robinson remains invested in producing more PBA players from their program.
"Hopefully, in the next years to come, we're gonna produce pa rin PBA players in our program in LPU," said Robinson.