PBA All-Star

Shot to remember: Bolick completes 5-point play as Bacolod All-Star Game ends in draw

Delfin Dioquino

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Shot to remember: Bolick completes 5-point play as Bacolod All-Star Game ends in draw

BIG SHOT. Robert Bolick in action for Team Mark in the 2024 PBA All-Star Game.

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Shaking off his early struggles, Robert Bolick hits one of the biggest shots in PBA All-Star Game history for a rousing end to the midseason spectacle that returned to Bacolod for the first time since 2008

BACOLOD, Philippines – You can never really count Robert Bolick out when it comes to winning plays.

Shaking off his early struggles, Bolick hit one of the biggest shots in PBA All-Star Game history to help Team Mark force a 140-140 tie with Team Japeth at the jam-packed University of St. La Salle gym here on Sunday, March 24.

Bolick completed a five-point play with under 20 seconds left as Team Mark came back from a 32-point hole to salvage a draw for a rousing end to the All-Star Weekend that returned to the City of Smiles for the first time since 2008.

The leading scorer in the Philippine Cup, the NLEX guard fired blanks throughout the first three periods, tallying just 3 points going into the final quarter and passing up on shots he normally makes in the PBA out of frustration.

But Bolick caught fire when Team Mark needed him the most, scattering 10 points in the fourth frame, including the last 9 points as he cashed in on back-to-back four-point buckets and the game-tying free throw.

Just like the All-Star Game last year, the PBA implemented a four-point line and rewarded slam dunks with 3 points.

That gimmick worked in favor of Bolick, who let it fly from near the half-court line, fished a foul off Calvin Oftana, then calmly sank the bonus shot, much to the delight of the Bacolodnons who came to watch a competitive game.

Bolick finished with 13 points as he emerged the surprise All-Star Game MVP, sharing the honors with Japeth Aguilar, who netted 21 points.

“I told my teammates that I might not be built for the All-Star Game,” said Bolick in Filipino. “I was having a bad game. Even last year, I was struggling to make shots. It is just probably the will of the Lord.”

The game marked just the third time in PBA history that the All-Star Game ended in a tie, with the last one happening in 2017 when Gilas Pilipinas and the Mindanao All-Stars settled for a 114-114 draw.

According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, the 2008 edition in Bacolod should have been the first All-Star Game to end in a draw as the North and South All-Stars figured in a 149-149 tie through four quarters.

But the PBA granted then the Bacolodnons’ wish for an overtime, allowing the South All-Stars led by MVP Peter June Simon to hack out a 163-158 win.

Although there was no extension this time around, it did not take away the beauty of the game, with both teams consciously playing defense and putting in an effort to win.

In fact, the five-point play would not have happened if not for a stellar defensive job by first-time All-Star Cliff Hodge, who stole a pass from Roger Pogoy and assisted Bolick.

CJ Perez led all scorers with 39 points as he brought Team Mark back into the game after Team Japeth mounted a 46-20 first-quarter lead behind 7 four-pointers courtesy of Paul Lee, Jamie Malonzo, and Roger Pogoy.

Perez sank 6 four-pointers in the second frame alone and finished the period with 28 points, the all-time most points in a quarter since the All-Star Game was institutionalized in 1989.

The Scores

Team Mark 140 – Perez 39, Barroca 20, Abueva 18, Fajardo 17, Rivero 15, Bolick 13, Perkins 9, Tiongson 3, Jalalon 2, Hodge 2, Sangalang 2, Norwood 0, Castro 0, Yap 0, Pinto 0.

Team Japeth 140 – Pogoy 25, Lassiter 24, Aguilar 21, Malonzo 17, Tolentino 13, Romeo 11, Lee 9, Newsome 7, Oftana 7, Trollano 2, Pringle 2, Dionisio 2, Ahanmisi 0.

Quarters: 20-46, 68-79, 104-111, 140-140.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.