MANILA, Philippines – For Topex Robinson, being a part of the Philippine national team's coaching staff is a dream come true.
The Lyceum of the Philippines University coach along with Sandy Arespacochaga and Alex Compton are part of Mark Dickel's staff for the upcoming window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers later this month.
"'Yung first meeting namin, I still can't believe that I'm really here," said Robinson, who led the Pirates to runners-up finishes in Seasons 93 and 94 of the NCAA.
"It's just something I dreamed about," he said.
This marks Robinson's first ever participation in the national team program, and it's something he can take pride in.
"This is one thing I could put in my checklist of achievements as a young coach," he said.
As excited as he is, Robinson knows how big of a responsibility he was entrusted when he was included in the Gilas coaching staff. The young coach sees this as his opportunity not just to teach the young players in the Gilas Pilipinas pool, but also to learn from the more veteran mentors that he now works with.
"This is the best opportunity for me to learn," he said. "With Coach Alex, Coach Tab and his tons of knowledge, the blessing of being part of this is something that I'm really grateful for."
"You can't just be happy to be here," Robinson also said. "You have to prove that you're worthy of the opportunity given to you. Anything to do with service is something I'm gonna be happy to have."
In Gilas, Robinson also reunited with CJ Perez, who became a star under his tutelage in Lyceum.
Perez is now a full-fledged PBA standout, even becoming a Best Player of the Conference candidate in just his first season with Columbian Dyip. He has also become a cornerstone of the national team program, competing for the Philippines in the FIBA Basketball World Cup last year and winning a gold medal in 3x3 in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
"This (Gilas) is gonna solidify that relationship," said Robinson of his protégé. "It's something that I'm excited about."
"But it's not just him," the coach added. "Being with the guys that I look up to, 'yung mga dating players you wish you were coaching, ito na 'yung pagkakataon."
"I'll get a chance to mentor them and guide them. That's what I'm excited about."
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.