26 May 2015,
St. Placid gymnasium,
San Beda College campus,
I have never seen Robert “Berto” Bolick Jr. play in a long while.
The last time I saw him play, the La Salle Green Archers lost to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
When the game was over, he was sitting on the hardcourt, facing the celebrating Tams, and his head bowed up his chest.
(Robert Bolick in action).
He was crying and hugging with teammates after that Final Four setback.
Next thing I knew, I was seeing him carrying a lady’s bag after every UAAP women’s volleyball game I watched in season 77.
It didn’t take me long to find out that he wanted out of the Green Archers, and he is spending time with his new girlfriend, Aby Marano, whom both are in a relationship.
(Kenmark Carino (left) and Gwynne Capacio (right) takes possession for the Blue Eagles).
Anyway, he and Aby would hang out, and watch the La Salle Lady Green Spikers make it to the UAAP finals again.
Then, as the months wore on, I would see Robert in games of the Philippine Super Liga, watching Aby’s Petron Blaze Spikers make it to the finals also.
So, on Tuesday, May 26, I was surprised to see Aby seated at the bleacher section of the St. Placid gym inside the San Beda College campus.
(Big man Kenmark (left), in a rebound play with Nigerian big guy Eugene Emenako).
She was with somebody who looked like her sister.
Below, on the floor was the San Beda-B Red Lions and the Ateneo-B Blue Eagles, playing against each other in the 21st Fr. Martin Summer Cup basketball tournament
It turned out that Aby was taking a break from practice with the national women’s under-23 team going to the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
(CJ Perez(25) tries to get the ball past Bolick) while teammate Carino tries to defend himself past Emenako).
Aby has plenty down time, considering that the national under-23 team will be in Singapore by June 4.
She wanted to watch Mr. Bolick suit for the Red Lions for the first time.
Apparently, she seems to be looking for inspiration. That is inspiration to do great things when her time comes to play flag and country in Singapore comes.
(Carino in a rebound play with Kristoffer James Porter(14)).
As I watched, I saw Bolick was indeed playing his first game after transferring from La Salle.
His big plays helped put San Beda out of reach in the last four minutes, and into a 75-69 win over the Blue Eagles.
First, he scored on a triple in the last 3:56 to give San Beda a 63-59 edge.
It was one of two treys which San Beda would score, as second one from another teammate handed the Mendiola dribblers a 66-60 spread.
Then, he struck with a crucial pair of charities in the last 2:47 to put San Beda out of reach, 68-62.
His basket came after Thirdy Ravena scored on his own triple.
When the game ended, it turned out that the Red Lions have scored their fourth win in five games.
This kept them in contention for a quarterfinal seat, one of four at stake in Group B.
Coach Ford Arao said Bolick was supposed to play when the Red Lions faced and beat the University of Santo Tomas Tigers-A, 79-46, last May 19.
But, there was no need for Bolick to play at that time because the margin was big.
He later told Bolick to be show aggressiveness with his game, and to keep it up.
As for Bolick, it was teamwork which won the game.
And his game was all about the teamwork which came into play.
“Kailangan kong maging aggressive. Para sa team ito,” remarked Bolick.
In that game, Bolick scored a gamehigh 25 points, while Nigerian reserve Arnaud Noah provided 13 point, teammate Eugene Emenako had 9, Jun Bonsubre made 4 and Kyle Carlos shot only 3.
The Blue Eagles squad were led by CJ Perez with 17, Thirdy Ravena with 14 and Gwynne Capacio with 12.