MANILA, Philippines -- Lyceum of the Philippines University coach Topex Robinson predicts that their game against San Beda University next week will still be “exciting for basketball enthusiasts,” even though both teams are already assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final 4.
The game features significantly lower stakes than their second round match-up last year, when Lyceum defeated San Beda in their final game of the eliminations to secure a historic 18-game sweep and advance outright to the finals.
This time around, San Beda (15-1) and Lyceum (15-2) are already through to the Final 4, and will both be armed with a win-once bonus there.
Still, the showdown should be a treat for fans. Since last year, all of the games between San Beda and Lyceum have been highly competitive. In the first round of Season 94, the Pirates hacked out a slim 73-66 triumph.
For Robinson and his team, the game will also be another opportunity from them to continue in their development.
“That's a huge, huge program to really give ourselves a chance to learn from them,” said Robinson after the Pirates defeated De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, 77-64, to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage.
“It's gonna be a dogfight, but at the end of the day, it's gonna be fun because there's so much competition between us and San Beda, but there's also so much respect for both teams,” he added.
“So I'm sure it's gonna be an exciting game for basketball enthusiasts in general.”
What makes the game so special for Robinson is that they consider the San Beda program as a “role model” for their own.
“They were one of our role models in how a team should be run, how players should play. It's always nice to play against a team that you idolize,” said the coach.
He compares it to his own experience as a player, when he got to play against his idol in Johnny Abarrientos.
“'Yun ang feeling namin everytime we play San Beda,” he said.
“We have so much respect for that team, and with that respect, we also know how hard it is to beat them, and it's always gonna bring the best out of us,” he added. “Whatever it is the result of the game, it's always gonna bring the best out of our team.”
Lyceum and San Beda play on October 18, Thursday, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
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