PBA Philippine Cup

Bolick to the rescue again as NLEX goes into long break on a high

Delfin Dioquino

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Bolick to the rescue again as NLEX goes into long break on a high

TAKE OVER. Robert Bolick in action for the NLEX Road Warriors in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

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Robert Bolick flirts with a triple-double against Blackwater to steer NLEX to a third straight win before it goes on a month-long break

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX has been on a roll in the PBA Philippine Cup and it has Robert Bolick to thank for.

Bolick flirted with a triple-double and shone down the stretch as the Road Warriors claimed their third straight win by way of a 103-97 victory over erstwhile unbeaten Blackwater at the PhilSports Arena on Wednesday, March 13.

The flamboyant guard drained a pair of three-pointers in the final minute and finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals to steer NLEX to a 4-1 record before it goes on a month-long break.

“Robert Bolick is just a hell of a player,” said Road Warriors assistant coach Borgie Hermida.

“He produces a lot of points. But if you take a look at the assist department, Bolick is also a great passer. 90 percent of the time, the ball is in his hands. And 90 percent of the time, Berto makes good decisions.”

Although Bolick slowed down offensively after erupting for a career-high 46 points in their romp of Converge last Saturday, Bolick delivered the biggest hits late.

Bolick gave NLEX a 100-94 lead by sinking a trey with 45 seconds left, and when the Bossing inched within 100-97, he sealed the deal with another triple with 30 ticks remaining.

While Bolick stole the show with his endgame exploits, heroes were aplenty for NLEX.

Rookie Jhan Nermal scattered 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and pulled down 7 rebounds, seldom-used Dominic Fajardo put up 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Robbie Herndon tallied 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Baser Amer also contributed with 12 points in his first encounter against his former team Blackwater.

After playing five games in two weeks, the Road Warriors will go on a well-deserved break before they return to action on April 6 against perennial contender Magnolia.

Bolick, though, warned NLEX against complacency, with the team also set to battle powerhouses San Miguel, TNT, and Barangay Ginebra for its remaining assignments.

“It will be a difficult stretch next month, so we need to prepare better,” said Bolick.

The Road Warriors won despite missing head coach Frankie Lim, who injured his hand after being hit by a ball during practice.

Without Lim, deputy Jong Uichico – a nine-time PBA champion as a head coach – called the shots for NLEX.

Rey Suerte paced the Bossing with 21 points, but he missed five crucial free throws inside the final three minutes as Blackwater saw its unbeaten streak snapped and fell to 3-1.

Suerte went 3-of-8 from the line, with the team going 13-of-25 overall for a measly 52%.

Rey Nambatac and Troy Rosario netted 16 points each in the loss that prevented the Bossing from tying their franchise-best start when they opened the 2019 Governors’ Cup with four consecutive wins.

The Scores

NLEX 103 – Bolick 21, Nermal 16, Herndon 14, Fajardo 14, Amer 12, Semerad 11, Rodger 9, Marcelo 4, Valdez 2, Miranda 0, Pascual 0.

Blackwater 97 – Suerte 21, Rosario 16, Nambatac 16, Tungcab 15, Guinto 12, Ilagan 8, David 4, Yap 3, Escoto 2, Sena 0, Hill 0, Kwekuteye 0, Jopia 0.

Quarters: 22-26, 50-51, 71-72, 103-97.

– 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.