PBA Philippine Cup

Bolick torches NorthPort, but NLEX guard says love remains for former team

Delfin Dioquino

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Bolick torches NorthPort, but NLEX guard says love remains for former team

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

PBA Images

Facing NorthPort for the first time since it traded him to NLEX, Robert Bolick turns in an all-around performance in a gritty overtime win

MANILA, Philippines – The wonderful things Robert Bolick used to do for NorthPort, he is now doing against the Batang Pier.

Bolick torched his former team and steered NLEX to a winning start in the PBA Philippine Cup by way of a 107-100 overtime victory over NorthPort at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 1.

Facing the Batang Pier for the first time since they traded him to the Road Warriors in December, Bolick finished with 31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists as he netted his highest scoring performance for his current squad.

But Bolick said he still has fondness for NorthPort, the team that selected him No. 3 overall in the 2018 draft.

“The love between [former] teammates remains,” said Bolick in Filipino. “I was drafted there. I know how they play. We’re happy that we won.”

Bolick came up clutch in the extra period, knocking down a pair of free throws that broke a 100-100 deadlock and assisting Anthony Semerad for the layup that made it 106-100 with under 40 seconds remaining.

He then set the final score with another foul shot.

“Fortunately, we have Robert Bolick here to save the day for us,” said NLEX head coach Frankie Lim. “He made big plays and he is a very willing passer.”

Rookie Enoch Valdez also shone for the Road Warriors with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals, Sean Anthony posted 15 points and 9 rebounds, while Semerad chimed in 15 points off the bench, with 4 coming in overtime.

Newly acquired forward Ato Ular, who got shipped from Blackwater to NLEX as part of the three-team trade that sent Road Warriors big man Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser to TNT, put up 6 points and 4 rebounds for his new squad.

Arvin Tolentino paced the Batang Pier with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks, taking over late in regulation as he kept his side alive.

NLEX led 97-93 before Tolentino went on a personal 5-1 run inside the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to propel NorthPort to an extra period.

The Road Warriors, however, put the clamps on Tolentino as he missed all of his four field goals in overtime.

Allyn Bulanadi backstopped Tolentino with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, although he coughed up two costly turnovers in extra time.

No. 5 pick Zavier Lucero tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks in his debut for the Batang Pier after missing last conference due to a knee injury, while William Navarro turned in 12 points and 13 rebounds in his NorthPort return.

The Scores

NLEX 107 – Bolick 31, Valdez 16, Anthony 15, Semerad 15, Pascual 9, Ular 6, Nieto 5, Marcelo 4, Miranda 3, Amer 2, Nermal 0.

NorthPort 100 – Tolentino 29, Bulanadi 19, Lucero 13, Navarro 12, Munzon 8, Zamar 6, Calma 4, Flores 4, Rosales 2, Chan 2, Paraiso 1, Cuntapay 0, Yu 0.

Quarter: 29-25, 55-50, 74-72, 98-98, 107-100.

– 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.