Back-to-back defeats from Lyceum Pirates prepared Bolick to play hero in NCAA finale
MANILA, Philippines – It all came full circle for Robert Bolick as he willed the San Beda College Red Lions to their 21st NCAA title against the Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates on Thursday, November 16.
Bolick provided the boost the Red Lions needed to stave off the Pirates in Game 2 of the best-of-3 finale, knocking down a gritty triple with only 50 seconds left that virtually closed all doors for a possible Lyceum comeback, 89-82.
San Beda swept the championship series with a 92-82 Game 2 win and even though it was Donald Tankoua who was crowned finals Most Valuable Player, it was Bolick who always delivered the finishing blow which kept the Pirates at bay.
During Game 1, Bolick buried a backbreaking triple to cap off a personal 8-0 run that put the Red Lions up 91-82 with only 35 seconds remaining en route to the victory.
In two games of the finals, he scored 20 of his 42 total points in the final quarter alone.
But if there is someone to thank for his improved outside sniping, it would ironically be the Pirates.
“Since the start of the season kasi coach Boyet (Fernandez) told us to shoot before the start of the training and medyo hindi ko ginagawa. He always tells me na ‘You can’t shoot from the outside, the 3-point shot,’ and from that day na natalo kami sa Lyceum when I missed my free throws, I took it personal,” said the Ormoc City-native.
(Since the start of the season, coach Boyet told us to shoot before the start of the training but I did not really comply. He always told me that I couldn't shoot from the outside and from that day that we lost to Lyceum, because I missed my free throws, I took it personal.)
When the two teams first met, Bolick’s statline of 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists was not enough as the Red Lions surrendered a 91-96 decision to the Pirates.
Things got worse the second time with Lyceum pulling off a 107-105 squeaker to end the eliminations with a perfect 18-0 card. In that game, Bolick still finished with 16 points but missed 13 of his 17 shots and turned the ball over 6 times.
“Sabi nila, wala daw akong shooting. (They say I don’t shoot the ball that well.) From that day on, every after practice, I shoot 7 spots 20 made each. I always visualize na maybe, you know, it’s always going to be close games and I have to practice where I will take a shot and saan ako komportable to make that 3.”
Now with back-to-back NCAA titles under his belt, Bolick is not stopping on his chase for more championships with the Red Lions especially that he decided to stay one more year in Mendiola instead of pursuing a professional career.
“I can already apply for the draft, but I think it’s my responsibility to keep one more year for San Beda for the way they treat me, galing pa lang sa teachers, sa fathers, tao sa cafeteria, mga guards, kahit kung sino sino lang doon. (The teachers, the fathers, the people in the cafeteria, the guards, the people there.) You’re inspired to play for them.” – Rappler.com