At 23 years old, Robert Bolick is the youngest player in this batch of Gilas Pilipinas.
But he is not letting his youth hinder his progress.
“Masarap na sa feeling na nandito pero lalo akong nagugutom.
“Lalo akong naging motivated na every day na kailangan ko magtrabaho kasi ako yung pinaka-bata sa team eh,” said the PBA rookie.
Bolick is also a first-timer to the national team. Does he feel pressured for the tournament? Not at all.
For Bolick, himself a winner of titles in both the UAAP and NCAA, he prefers to embrace the challenge. There is plenty of pressure playing in global tournaments, but he doesn’t mind.
“The more pressure, mas sarap maglaro eh. In the world stage, yun ang pinaka-masarap maglaro,” he said. “Hindi ko lang alam sa iba, pero para sa akin, yun ang pinaka-masarap talaga, World Cup.
“Magaling kalaban mo. May mga NBA player na mga inidolo mo, pinapanood mo sa Playoffs, tapos ngayon kalaban mo na. Napakasarap na laro niyan. Bakbakan talaga.”
The main criticism for this World Cup-bound Gilas team is its lack of legit shooters, since the squad lost two of their snipers – Marcio Lassiter and Matthew Wright – to injury.
The responsibility of providing deep shooting now lies with Bolick and Roger Pogoy, as well as the other gunslingers in the team. It may be a tall task, but Bolick is up for the challenge.
“The more pressure, the more na gusto ipakita na kaya naming i-fill up yung spot,” he expressed. “Alam ko naman mahirap kasi malalaki yung kalaban, pero wala naman sa height yan eh.
“Si Jimmy (Alapag) nga eh – Mighty Mouse. Ilang three points tinira noon ‘di ba? All heart lang yun, pride lang yun talaga yung tao na yun. Captain yun dito (national team) dati.
“Yun yung mga inspirasyon na tinitignan namin. If they can do it, why not try?” Bolick pointed out.
Still, the NorthPort Batang Pier guard has confidence he’s up to the task, jokingly saying: “Kinamayan ko naman si Matthew tsaka si Marcio ‘di ba? Sabi ko ‘[sa] inyo lilipat na naman yan’.”
Turning serious, though, Bolick vows to do whatever he can to be of help for the Filipino dribblers in the global cagefest.
“Basta ako, I’m just going to give my best, give everything to the country,” promised the cager from Leyte. “It’s my first time. First time ko sumabak, World Cup kaagad, wow.
“Napakasarap sa feeling. Proud na proud. Iga-grab ko na itong opportunity na ito.”