While inside the bubble, coach Topex wants Phoenix to be the ‘best version’ of themselves

Published November 6, 2020, 7:38 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Phoenix coach Topex Robinson sits with forward Calvin Abueva during a post-match media availability. (PBA Images)

What stories will you tell your children and grandchildren when you talk about the PBA bubble?

That’s the challenge Phoenix coach Topex Robinson raised to his players while competing in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup in Clark, Pampanga.

It has been a cycle of activities for the PBA family since most of the teams arrived late September.

Most of the time they are holed at Quest Hotel in Mimosa. If not, the squads are either practicing or playing a match at the AUF Arena, a bus ride that is worth 15 to 20 minutes from their official residence.

During their time, the players get to bond with each other in almost every gimmick imaginable.

At least that’s the case for the Super LPG Fuel Masters.

“Sabi ko nga sa team, it’s a blessing na nandito kami sa bubble,” Robinson said during One Sports’ Sports Page aired Tuesday, where he was accompanied by Phoenix mainstay Calvin Abueva. 

“Kasi, kung baga, ‘when was the last time na nakasama mo ‘yung player mo to almost 24/7?’ Kung baga it never happened, even in college hindi ganun ka[tagal] ‘yung pagsasama e.”

For the newly-appointed Phoenix mentor, who replaced Louie Alas before the continuation of the Philippine Cup, the bubble community is an opportunity for the team to strengthen its camaraderie inside and outside of the court. 

The reinstatement of Abueva in the league, after a long 16-month hiatus, was just one of the epiphanies, not only for the Phoenix forward himself but for the team as a whole. So Robinson also had a goal in mind while cherishing their moments in the bubble: To be the best version of themselves.

The bubble, however, isn’t perfect.

Being away from their families is a given problem. The league was also marred with controversies due to recent suspect cases of COVID-19.

Setting those challenges aside, the 45-year-old Robinson believes they are in a “better place.”

“Because we get to do what we love to do,” he added. “Kung baga, ‘pag labas mo dito sa pinto, may pagkain ka, tapos sabi ko nga sumusweldo ka. So, what more can you ask for?”

True enough, the Phoenix connection is present more than ever as the Fuel Masters are currently ranked second with a 6-3 record, trailing the tied top-seeded TNT Tropang Giga and the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings at 6-2 slate.