Before Gilas Pilipinas’ third session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup began, Robert Bolick and Stanley Pringle occupied one side of the court as they did some shooting drills.
Yes, just like the good old times.
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“Ang bilis nga eh. Na-miss na ata ako nito,” quipped Bolick, as the duo separated due to a trade between NorthPort and Ginebra last Tuesday.
Bolick, a rookie out of San Beda, was invited by none other than Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao to be part of the pool. Meanwhile, Pringle volunteered to help out the squad in its prep himself.
“Whenever it’s the national team, I’m always in full support, playing or not playing,” shared Pringle, who played two games in the Asian Qualifiers.
During their short time together in NorthPort, Pringle has been a mentor of sorts for Bolick, molding him into being the face of the franchise one day.
And so when Ginebra traded the reigning scoring champion, Bolick could not help but be sad with how their tandem ended so swiftly.
“Nakaka-bad trip lang na one conference lang ko siya nakasama. Iniisip ko what if one more year, two years, ano pa ang pwedeng mangyari,” shared the 23-year-old Bolick.
“Pero nagpapasalamat lang ako na nandiyan siya palagi para sa akin.”
But before he left NorthPort, Pringle assured Bolick of one thing – that their friendship will go beyond the court. And it’s because he does not see Bolick as just his student.
“Berto, we hang out regardless. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, bye!’ He was just at my house today,” admitted Pringle.
“Some say it’s mentoring, but we learn from each other.
“When we’re on the same team, we’re working together, working hard. When he sees something that you can improve on, he’s gonna tell you. If I see something he can improve on, I’ll tell him too. That’s what you want,” Pringle continued.
That is why Pringle is going all out to support Bolick in his journey with Gilas Pilipinas. Just like him, he hopes that Bolick can experience being part of the national team one day.
“Like I said, he’s a great player, he works hard, and you need that kind of mentality for the national team. Guys who are gonna come in and be great team players,” Pringle remarked about Bolick.
“Berto’s a great person, great player on and off the court. He’s always gonna be good for the national team.”
But for Bolick, just being part of the pool is an honor in itself. Called up or not, he simply answered the call of duty that is part of being a Filipino basketball player.
“Masaya na akong nandito. Kahit ano man ang desisyon nila, masaya na ako na nakapag-practice ako dito,” said Bolick.
“Sa akin, blessing yun, challenge na sa akin. Ganoon lang parati ang mindset ko,” he expressed.
“‘Pag nakuha, mas tatrabahuin ko. ‘Pag ‘di ako nakuha, may kulang pa ako, yun din ang tatrabahuin ko. Blessing lang sa akin. Ina-accept ko lang yung honor.”