THEY have worked together briefly, sitting on the same bench with Gilas Pilipinas.
On Monday, Mark Dickel and Topex Robinson will be on opposite ends of the court, facing off for the first time as rival mentors in the PBA.
The Dickel-Robinson tussle is a key part of an interesting duel of combatants staking clean slates in the Philippine Cup bubble play at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
One side sees the end of their perfect run as the TNT Tropang Giga and the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters lock horns at 4 p.m.
The Tropang Giga set the pace with a 3-0 win-loss record on explosive nights, one after another by RR Pogoy, Bobby Ray Parks and Poy Erram. There were also the solid efforts of Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario.
But TNT is likely to miss one of them as Pogoy suffered an ankle sprain in their 107-88 manhandling of San Miguel Beer Friday.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has long been missing energy guy Calvin Abueva but it hasn't been a hindrance in the Fuel Masters' 2-0 start in the tourney.
But Robinson and his troops are not about to crow about that, stressing they're a work in progress.
"We could be 0-2, we could be 0-2; it doesn't matter to us because we just wanted to grow as a team," said Robinson.
"We reminded each other we're not a team yet. We're just a group of gifted individuals playing the game of basketball and we're in the best position to be the team that we wanted to be, and it's going to take a lot of sacrifices," he added.
They have their own good progress as seen in their back-to-back triumphs over Meralco and NorthPort.
Matthew Wright erupted for 36 points in their 116-98 rout of the Bolts then Jason Perkins took over with 31 markers and 12 rebounds in their 110-105 spanking of the Batang Pier.
Robinson loved the way Wright - being a marked man in their second game - sacrificed his game while entrusting the ball to his teammates and believing they can make the shots.
Justin Chua and RJ Jazul also stepped up and delivered as the Fuel Masters sustained their momentum going to their crucial match against the Tropang Giga. (SB)