PBA Philippine Cup

‘Lucky to have Bolick’: NLEX guard takes over late in comeback win

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Lucky to have Bolick’: NLEX guard takes over late in comeback win

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

PBA Images

Robert Bolick erupts for 16 points in the fourth quarter as NLEX erases a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to turn back Meralco

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX head coach Frankie Lim heaved a sigh of relief as Robert Bolick steered the Road Warriors to another gritty victory.

Bolick took over in the fourth quarter and finished with 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists to guide NLEX to a come-from-behind 99-96 win over Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 6.

Held to 10 points in the first three quarters, Bolick exploded for 16 points in the final frame as the Road Warriors erased a double-digit deficit in the period to earn their second triumph in three games.

“We’re lucky to have Bolick. Just imagine if he is not on our team,” said Lim in Filipino.

“I want to look at it as a team effort. Each player made contributions. But of course, he is special.”

The Bolts propped up a 10-point lead with under seven minutes remaining off a Chris Newsome free throw, 85-75, before Bolick went on a personal tear, scoring all the points in a 12-4 run that pulled his side within 89-87.

Robbie Herndon then gave NLEX a 90-89 lead with a three-pointer off a Dominick Fajardo assist before Bolick sank four free throws in an 8-0 blitz as the Road Warriors made it 98-91.

But Meralco refused to crumble, answering with 5 straight points to inch within 98-96 and even getting a crack at forcing overtime when rookie Enoch Valdez split his free throws with under 15 seconds left.

Newsome, however, missed the game-tying three-pointer as the Bolts absorbed their second loss in three games.

Valdez backstopped Bolick with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals, while fellow rookie Jhan Nermal churned out 11 points.

Bolick, though, reserved his highest praises for Herndon and Fajardo, who delivered despite seeing limited action this conference.

Herndon chimed in 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, while Fajardo put up 6 points and 3 rebounds after being sidelined in the first two games.

“Shout out to Dom and Robbie. They gave us something extraordinary this game. The two won this game for us,” said Bolick.

Newsome turned in 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in another close defeat as Meralco also lost by just 3 points in its conference-opener against Blackwater exactly a week ago.

Raymar Jose had 14 points and 4 rebounds, Raymond Almazan tallied 13 points and 7 rebounds in his conference debut after sitting out the first two games with flu, while Allein Maliksi netted 12 points and 4 rebounds for Meralco.

The Scores

NLEX 99 – Bolick 26, Valdez 12, Nermal 11, Herndon 9, Semerad 9, Marcelo 7, Miranda 7, Fajardo 6, Nieto 5, Amer 3, Pascual 2, Ular 2.

Meralco 96 – Newsome 22, Jose 14, Almazan 13, Maliksi 12, Hodge 10, Torres 9, Black 5, Quinto 5, Banchero 4, Rios 2, Mendoza 0, Caram 0, Pascual 0.

Quarters: 26-28, 51-43, 64-72, 99-96.

– 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.