Robert Bolick can’t wait to witness once again the gigantic clash between Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo as NorthPort and San Miguel are on a collision course in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
The 25-year-old from Ormoc recalled being an avid spectator of the towering centers’ battles during their collegiate days. Back then, Slaughter led University of Visayas (UV) while Fajardo bannered University of Cebu (UC).
Now he gets to take part in that storied rivalry, as his no. 5 Batang Pier takes on the fourth-seeded Beermen in a best-of-three series.
THROWBACK: Cebuano big men Junemar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter clash in this October 2009 photo of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball finals between University of Cebu and University of the Visayas. pic.twitter.com/HIkr82RLbp
— CDN Digital (@cebudailynews) July 26, 2018
“Growing up from Ormoc, I used to watch Greg and June Mar play sa dome namin, sa UC tsaka UV. Bata pa ko, nanonood na ko sa kanila,” Bolick said after their 122-94 conquest of Alaska, Thursday at DHVSU Gym.
“And how ironic, ‘di ba, si Greg nakasama ko na, tapos si June Mar, makakaLaban ko rin, tapos playoff pa, ‘di ba. So napakasarap sa feeling.”
Aside from the bigs’ match-up, Bolick is also set to rewrite another chapter in their long-standing on-court rivalry with CJ Perez.
It would be the first time that the good pals will face each other in a PBA playoff setting as most of their battles took place in the collegiate ranks. And that definitely adds more excitement on the part of Bolick.
“Siyempre masaya. Happy ako kung saan siya ngayon kahit na medyo may rivalry kami sa college tapos naging teammates kami sa World Cup. Ang dami naming natutunan sa sarili. Happy for him na nandun siya,” he said.
“It’s gonna be a good matchup. Sana pabor pa rin sa akin. Sana ako pa rin ang manalo,” he added as he has beaten Perez twice in the NCAA Finals.
Bolick and Co. will face a familiar foe in the quarters. NorthPort played San Miguel in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, where they blew their twice-to-beat advantage to the eventual champs.
The San Beda product believes that their youth will be key, though it isn’t lost on him that they’ll be up against a much more experienced crew.
“At least natutunan namin kung paano ‘yung laro pag quarters, ‘pag playoffs time na,” he said. “At ngayon, ‘yun din, madaming players dito na nakapag-champion na din sa amin eh, sila Greg, di ba, sila Kevin [Ferrer],” he said.
“Siguro ‘yung youth namin, ‘yun ‘yung advantage namin versus ‘yung experience … [pero] grabe ‘yung experience nila doon kasi ang dami nang championship nun.”