Robert Bolick got a taste of what it’s like going up against the uber-competitive Chris Ross on a playoff stage.
Known for getting into the head of whoever he’s up against, Ross gave the rookie a dose of that during the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal clash between San Miguel and NorthPort, Sunday night.
One instance was at the 2:30-mark of the second quarter. When Bolick brought down the ball and made his way towards the referee to call for a timeout, Ross still tried to reach for the rock, and then talked a bit to the neophyte.
Bolick didn’t like it, but he did not fire back; instead, he simply looked at the referee while pointing at Ross. His teammate Kevin Ferrer stepped in and confronted Ross, before incurring a technical foul for second motion.
And with 6:09 to go in the third canto, Ross stared down Bolick while the latter was on the floor. Bolick actually dove for the ball as he tried to steal it away from Ross, but Chris McCullough got it and rose up for the one-handed jam.
Going up against somebody like Ross is challenging, to say the least. But Bolick said he’s hardly affected.
“Okay lang. They’re just doing their job. Wala naman akong pakialam sa mga ganoon eh. Kahit rookie eh, hindi papasok sa akin ‘yun,” said the 23-year-old. “I just play my game; kahit anong tactics, part of the game ‘yan eh.
“Sa akin, wala akong pakialam. I just play my game, hindi nasisira laro ko. Lalo akong namo-motivate. Ganoon talaga, part of the game,” he added.
“Parang NCAA, sanay na ako sa mga ganoon. Trash talk, siko-siko – part of the game.”
Bolick proved as much with the way he played. Playing under the bright lights of the quarterfinals for the second time in his pro career, the gunslinging guard did not blink as he poured in 20 points, six assists, two rebounds, and two steals.
The celebrated San Beda product also played a significant role in the Batang Pier’s fightback, where they turned the Beermen’s wide 17-point advantage in the third chapter to just a solitary point, 82-81, in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, their comeback fell short. SMB responded with a 16-0 run to eventually bag the 98-84 win.
The Batang Pier failed to replicate their 110-86 demolition of the Beermen in their lone elimination round meeting last June 5. But what’s more painful for NorthPort is that the loss had blown their twice-to-beat advantage.
But Bolick is defiant, saying that they will not just roll over and die in their rubber match this Wednesday.
“We just have to play our game,” said the cager from Leyte. “Confident naman ako sa team namin. Hindi namin ibibigay ng madali ‘to, for sure. We will fight. We will have a dogfight next Wednesday. Hindi namin ibibigay ‘yan.
“We worked hard for the second seed, tapos kukunin lang ng ganoon? No. Papakamatay kami.”
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