Thomas Robinson felt vindicated after leading NLEX to a 117-113 overtime victory over San Miguel Beer in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
Road Warriors coach Frankie Lim said Robinson displayed his determination to beat the Beermen after conspiring with playmaker Kris Rosales in coming back from a 19-point deficit to secure their first win in two outings late Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Robinson, a former lottery pick in the National Basketball Association, has an ax to grind against the Beermen.
In fact, he was supposed to suit up for San Miguel last year but suffered a back injury before the conference kicked off. He returned to the United States to undergo rehabilitation while the Beermen moved on and tapped another former NBA standout in Diamond Stone.
Robinson said he was hoping to get a call from San Miguel as soon as he was done with his rehab.
But it didn’t come.
“He played his heart out. You can see from him that he didn’t want to lose this game,” Lim said.
“Maybe he wanted to show them that they committed a mistake.”
On the court, Robinson displayed a warm attitude towards his former teammates.
In fact, he was seen exchanging pleasantries with some Beermen before the game. He even chatted with Beermen coach Jorge Gallent during a dead ball situation after June Mar Fajardo was called for an offensive foul.
Gallent clarified that they didn’t replace him.
“We didn’t replace him,” Gallent told Daily Tribune in an online exchange, saying that Robinson wasn’t fit to play at that time.
“He had a back injury so we have to replace him with another one.”
Despite the sorry episode, Robinson stressed that he has nothing but respect for the Beermen.
“I have respect for the whole organization. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. It’s just bad luck,” said Robinson, who sent a strong statement after erupting for 42 points, 20 rebounds and five assists.