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Basketball

Maraño fires up Bolick in Cignal-San Beda’s championship-clincher

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It’s tough when your girlfriend is watching your game. It’s tougher when your girlfriend is a multi-time champion

Robert Bolick had a very special guest during Game Three of the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals that pit the Cignal-San Beda HD Spikers against the Racal Tile Masters, Thursday evening. Bolick’s long-time girlfriend and two-time PSL champion Abigail Maraño was sitting in the stands, intensely watching the winner-take-all affair.

Maraño herself has been part of numerous winner-take-all affairs both in her collegiate and professional volleyball career. On the other hand, in Bolick’s short stay in San Beda College, he has experienced a do-or-die game, but not a game with everything at stake.

PSL AFC 2016 F2 vs. Foton G3-7964

Bolick’s unfamiliarity in this type of moments showed in the first 20 minutes of the game as he was limited to just four points during the half. Moreover, the HD Hawkeyes were facing a 35-43 deficit.

“Siyempre, she won a couple of championships. Kaya nga ako naka-shoot ng three points kasi nung first half, pinuntahan niya ako, nagalit pa,” Bolick recalled about one particular instance in the first quarter that drew the ire of the 24-year-old Maraño.

“Di ko siya pinagalitan,” the former De La Salle University  Lady Spikers begged to differ. “Kasi nanggigigil na ako dun sa puwesto ko dun sa taas. Di ako maka-focus, ang ingay nga, di ako mapakali, gusto ko may sasabihin ako sa kanya.

“Nakikita ko kasi first half, hindi yun yung championship na larong inaasahan ko from him.”

During the halftime break, the multi-time best middle blocker left her seat in the press row and went to the dugout. Once Bolick went out of the locker room, the incoming San Beda senior received some choice words from Maraño.

“Sabi ko, okay, sige sige, I’ll play like a champion. Eventually, naging malaking bagay [yun] talaga sa akin. Inspiration din,” the native of Ormoc City added.

And the numbers showed how this pep talk had helped Bolick and the HD Hawkeyes the rest of the way. The 22-year-old combo guard finished the game with 14 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks while helping stop Racal’s Kent Salado and Rey Nambatac.

More importantly, Cignal-San Beda were able to eke out an 81-78 win to cop the Aspirants’ Cup crown.

The PBA D-League crown is another trophy in Bolick’s growing list of accolades. Everyone had doubted him when he left La Salle three years ago, but it was Maraño, a two-time UAAP MVP, who became his rock.2017-PBA-Dleague-Aspirants-Cup---Cignal-San-Beda-HD-Hawkeyes---Robert-Bolick

“Hindi ako nag-doubt. Naniwala ako sa kanya kasi sinubaybayan ko laro niya e. Although di ko nakita yung laro ng ibang players, pero nakita ko yung effort niya, defense, assist, rebound, pumupuntos din siya,” she shared. “Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanyang kung alam mong di maganda yung laro mo sa isang bagay, alam mo kung saan kelangan bumawi.

“Ganun kasi yung relationship namin, we critique each other, para kaming coach ng isa’t isa.”

And Bolick is grateful for the complete career turnaround he is experiencing right now.

“May kasama kang MVP, may kasama kang leader, beast-mode maglaro, natutulungan niya ako,” Bolick added.

“Credit to her. Sinasabi ko nga, ‘lahat ng na-achieve ko, kalahati nun, sa teammates, sa family, kay Aby.'”

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Late whistle costs San Beda against Sousse to fall to 0-2

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23 for 2023 cadet Robert Bolick is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament

After struggling to close out the UAE National Team in their opener last Friday, the San Beda College Red Lions figured in a late judgment call that did not fall into their favor, Saturday at the Shabab Al Ahli Club in Dubai. Due to this, the defending NCAA Champions lost to Tuniasian club team Sousse, 78-79.

With the loss, the Red Lions fell to a 0-2 hole in the 29th Dubai Basketball Championship. But the record does not reflect how the Filipinos played.

Robert Bolick, who scored 28 points against the UAE National Team, led the charge for San Beda in their second outing had 27 points. Fellow 23 for 2023 cadet Javee Mocon added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Sousse, the second-best club team in Tunisia and boasts four national team players and an American import, led by as much as 10 points, 70-60 in the final frame.

Fired-up by the Filipinos who stormed the venue, the Red Lions answered right back with an 18-8 run capped by a booming Bolick triple with six ticks left to gain a 78-76 lead.

However, a foul was called on a Red Lion on a three-point attempt by a Sousse player. He calmly sank all three free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Donald Tankoua had eight points and 13 rebounds as he was saddled with foul trouble all throughout the game.

The Tunisian club team was paced by Radzhouane Slimane with 18 points while Ibrahim Nadarri and Joshua Cassady had 13 markers each.

San Beda will have a day break before taking on Moroccan club team Al Sale on Monday, January 22.

The Scores:

San Beda 78 – Bolick 27, Mocon 11, Tankoua 8, Noah 8, Toba 6, Soberano 6, Prebitero 4, Tongco 4, Bahio 2, Carino 2, Oftana 0, Adamos 0.

Sousse 79 – Slimane 18, Naddari 13, Cassady 13, Mouhli 11, Knioua 9, Toumi 8, Monastiri 4, Gaddour 3.

Quarterscores: 23-17, 36-39, 57-62, 78-79.

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Marc Pingris wants Rafi Reavis to break Robert Jaworski’s record

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Marc Pingris was all praises for veteran Rafi Reavis Saturday night, as the 40-year-old center made his presence felt in the Magnolia Hotshots’ 97-91 victory — their third straight win — over Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The six-foot-nine Reavis finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks — a performance perfectly punctuated by a follow-up of a Paul Lee miss with 12.5 seconds left to play that knocked out the Fuel Masters for good.

“Papasalamat ako kay Rafi na talagang kababalik lang niya pero binigay niya talaga lahat,” said Pingris after the bout, as Saturday night was just Reavis’ second outing in the 2018 Philippine Cup after recovering from a hip injury.

“Nag-usap nga kami kanina e, hindi pa siya 100 percent. So bukas, ang sabi niya babalik daw siya sa gym dahil gusto niya ibalik yung lakas ng legs dahil wala pa daw,” added the 36-year-old, who also suffered a hip injury last season.

Reavis has been playing in the league for 16 years. Seeing the work he has put in, Pingris, who finished the game with 17 rebounds, four assists, four points and two blocks, believes that the 10-time PBA champion can play for 10 more years — at least.

“You know naman Rafi eh, katulad ko rin yan eh – rebound and depensa. At tsaka sobrang vocal siya sa team eh,” beamed Pingris, who himself is a 14-year veteran. “Walang siyang inaano, talagang sinasabihan niya kung sino yung mga nagmi-mistake, kung paano kami mag-adjust, so nakikinig naman lahat sa kanya.

“Talagang nandun yung respeto namin kay Rafi.”

And if Reavis stays healthy for the next decade, Pingris wants Reavis to exceed Jaworki’s 958 games played — third most all time.

“Nasa kanya yun, basta kaya mo ba eh. As a player, kung masipag ka naman at may disiplina sa sarili mo, kaya niya yun.”

Still, Reavis has a lot of catching up to do.

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Gelo Alolino regrets Phoenix’s failure to close out Hotshots

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Photo by PBA Images

Gelo Alolino had his best game for the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Saturday night at the Cuneta Astrodome with 19 points, eclipsing his previous career-high of 16 markers which he made last May 21, 2017 in a loss to the Mahindra Floodbuster.

But his achievement won’t be too memorable, as it went for naught following a 91-97 defeat at the hands of Paul Lee and the Magnolia Hotshots, who have now collected their third straight victory.

For the second overall pick in the regular 2016 Rookie Draft, it was all because of their failure to sustain momentum up until the game’s final buzzer.

“Sayang, nandun na. We felt na sa amin na nung dulo kaso lang ganun talaga,” rued the 24-year-old sophomore after the match, where he shot an excellent 7-of-10 from the floor.

“Breaks of the game napunta sa kabila.”

Phoenix were in contention all throughout the match. In fact, they were even ahead, 89-84, with just three minutes left to play. But the Hotshots’ comeback skills were unleashed, leading to the narrow win.

“Siyempre kami lahat nasayangan. Maganda naman yung team effort talaga namin,” admitted the 6-foot floor general of their end-game collapse, which wasted their efforts in assists (21) and on defense, where they forced Magnolia to 21 turnovers.

“Kami as players talagang gusto namin bumawi coming from a loss last game sa Rain or Shine.

The Fuel Masters have now lost their second straight outing and have dropped to 2-3. And for Alolino, all they have to do is learn as much as they can from this loss, especially now that they are about to face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next.

“Yun nga. Medyo masakit para sa’min ‘to,” admitted the National University product.

“All we have to do is magviview ulit kami ng tape para makita kung saan kami mas pwede mag-improve as a team and bawat isa — including me.”

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Glenn Khobuntin repays Ricky Dandan’s trust with end-game heroics

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FILE Photo from PBA Images

Glenn Khobuntin can finally say that he had himself a moment in the pro ranks

The National University alumnus proved his worth for the Kia Picanto, scoring his team’s final six points to steer the often-ridiculed club to their first win after a historic 16-game skid, at the expense of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 98-94.

“I knew he would. I knew he would,” lauded Kia head coach Ricky Dandan of the takeover by the six-foot-four forward.

“It was a blessing he didn’t play for the first two quarters because he [came in] fresh at gigil na gigil.”

Khobuntin finished with 11 markers on 5-of-7 shooting — the best game he’s had so far, not because of the numbers he posted but with the way he made them. But the three-year pro does not want to take the spotlight all onto himself.

“Hindi lang din naman ako e, kami ding lahat e,” the 26-year-old shared. “Siguro kumbaga nagka-opportunity lang, napunta sa akin yung bola kasi yun yung nasa scheme ng play so ayun.

“Thankful lang ako na-hit ko yung mga na-design na plays.”

However, the third-year pro admitted that he had been frightened during the game’s final stretch, as Rain or Shine managed to impose a serious threat by coming back from a seven-point deficit, 94-96, with just less than 22 ticks left to play.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi two minutes pa rin yun e tapos Rain or Shine yung kalaban namin,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said. “Nakita ko nakakabalik sila. Thankful lang naman ako na yung game napunta sa amin, at least natapos yung losing streak namin.”

But more than the end of their months-long slump, what Khobuntin is grateful for is the trust given to him by Dandan, who fielded him as a starter in the second half after sitting out the entirety of the first 24 minutes.

“Nag-decide siya na ako yung i-start niya so thankful ako kasi nagtiwala siya sa akin.”

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