LA SALLE INVESTS PLAYING MINUTES ON KEVIN QUIAMBAO BACKUP

The work to defend its UAAP men’s basketball crown has already begun for La Salle—and for this, new faces surround the Green Archers’ foremost weapon, Kevin Quiambao.

“Being part of this program is no joke … you are always gonna be as good as your last game so that’s the standard that we always put in our program,” coach Topex Robinson said as La Salle advanced to the Finals of the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup against a familiar rival in University of the Philippines (UP) waiting on the other side. The two schools battled for all the marbles in Season 86 with La Salle successfully taking the throne behind MVP Quiambao. Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, Francis Escandor, Ben Phillips and Joaqui Manuel have since graduated and left holes all over the roster.

Robinson has filled that up and the team remains committed to the same mantra that gave them success last season: focusing on themselves and what they can control. That’s why he gave some of those new guys the exposure they need, even in high stakes games.

“It’s a gamble on my part to play the guys who don’t usually see action on the floor, giving them the chance to really prove themselves,” he said after what should’ve been a runaway victory against Letran in the semifinals.

Knowing the need to expose his newer cogs to the high-level of collegiate basketball, Robinson opted to keep his new guys on the floor despite squandering a 24-point lead on the way to a 91-87 escape act over the Knights.

“Those are the gambles that I would always take and the responsibility and the consequences will always be falling on my shoulders,” he added as La Salle tries to get back on the Fighting Maroons, who won against them in the eliminations, on Wednesday.

“The more we give them that air time, the more we could really finalize our roster because after the FilOil, we don’t really have a tournament ready for us except for a Japan trip,” the champion coach said.

Along with Quiambao, La Salle’s key holdovers include Earl Abadam, Jan Macalalag, CJ Austria, Michael Phillips (injured), EJ Gollena and Jonnel Policarpio.

Henry Agunanne, formerly a big man for Centro Escolar University, has been a force to be reckoned with inside the paint as he now backstops La Salle.

“By that time … most likely we [have] already chosen the guys that are gonna be part of Season 87 for us, so this is the best time to really put them to a test and then see if they really have what it takes to be in the lineup,” Robinson said.

“It’s gonna be an exciting game against UP on Wednesday, so another test of character for us,” he added.

2024-06-11T21:26:45Z dg43tfdfdgfd