By JONAS TERRADO
Robert Bolick took pride in the way NorthPort performed in the PBA Philippine Cup but insisted there’s still no reason to be fully satisfied with just one impressive campaign.
Bolick and the Batang Pier’s stint in the season-opening conference came to an end Thursday, Sept. 30 when a 100-95 loss allowed the San Miguel Beermen to sweep their best-of-three quarterfinal series.
With Bolick leading the charge in his first conference following a lengthy absence due to an ACL injury, the Batang Pier overcame a 1-3 start and being put under the league’s health and safety protocols in the first week of the restart to reach the quarters as the No. 5 seed.
Newly-acquired Greg Slaughter regained some of the confidence he lost in his final years with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel while rookie Jamie Malonzo showed his versatility and athleticism through the conference.
For Bolick, the just-concluded campaign is only just the start of something promising.
“My heart was heavy from things I carried along the way. I’ve been up, I’ve been down and tired but God even if we fell short I’m still so so proud of my team! They gave me this unbelievable energy to keep doing so much more,” Bolick said in a lengthy Instagram post.
“It’s just the beginning for us. We will be back. I don’t mind about the nomination, i don’t care about the stats because it’s always the championship I look forward for,” he added.
The former San Beda cager played the starring role in NorthPort’s run which marked an impressive comeback after his injury in Oct. 2019 cut short his rookie season while missing all of last year’s bubble.
He averaged 17.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists during the Philippine Cup and was ranked third in the early race for the Best Player of the Conference award.
Even after being swept by SMB, Bolick left a mark in the mini-series when his deep three in the final seconds almost gave NorthPort a Game 1 victory while dishing out 14 assists in the second match.
“They said I’m done, I can’t go back, I can’t play anymore and some even gave up on me but I stayed focus on my rehab,” he said. “Every single day was a battle. It’s no joke, I promise. I worked so hard to get back in shape and gave everything I have every damn day.