FIBA: Replacing the Gilas GOAT: Robert Bolick

Paul Lintag on Aug 08, 2019 03:33 PM
FIBA: Replacing the Gilas GOAT: Robert Bolick
Former national team coach Chot Reyes referred to the Blur as Gilas’ closer and Bolick certainly has the potential to play that exact role in the national team. (SBP and ABS-CBN photos)

With Jayson Castro pretty much retired from international basketball for a second time, the Philippine national team has lost a key pillar, one that has been a huge part in the success of the Gilas program as a whole.

The Blur has been playing for flag and country since Gilas 2.0, serving as a secret weapon the first time before anchoring the offense as the national team’s undisputed alpha dog in his later stints.

With Castro running point, the Philippines has been to the Finals of the Asian Championships twice.

He’s been hailed as the region’s best point guard two times and Castro has led Gilas Pilipinas to consecutive FIBA World Cup appearances. With his international production and accolades, it’s hard to make the case against the Blur being the Gilas’ GOAT.

And as he begs off from the 2019 World Championships to focus on his family, Gilas is essentially losing its best local player.

The Philippines’ no. 1 point guard spot is now wide open and with the 2019 FIBA World Cup approaching fast, Gilas needs a new alpha for the World Championships and beyond.

ABS-CBN Sports talked to three possible candidates to take over Castro’s no. 1 point guard spot with Gilas now and in the near future.

This is really happening, for real this time. This is goodbye to the Gilas GOAT. Who’s going to replace him now?

[Related: FIBA: Replacing the Gilas GOAT: CJ Perez]

 


THE ROOKIE

It might be hard to believe but Robert Bolick has never made it to the Philippine national team ever.

A late bloomer in college, Bolick has never donned the Pilipinas jersey even on tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games. He literally has no national team experience.

Until now.

“Blessing na sa akin yun. Ang sakin, mag-trabaho lang ako, kung ano man desisyon nila, yun na yun. Ganun lang parati,” Bolick said after making the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

“Sa akin, masaya na ako na na-punta ako dun. Pero wala pa kasi alam kung mala-line up o hindi di ba. Masaya na ako na pina-tawag ako sa practice,” he added.

Bolick may be a rookie in terms of his PBA and Gilas experience but his actual play is anything but.

Former national team coach Chot Reyes referred to the Blur as Gilas’ closer and Bolick certainly has the potential to play that exact role in the national team.

The man they call “Babes” has that it factor and his killer mentality is off the charts. How many times has Bolick saved Northport in just two PBA conferences?

Short answer is A LOT. Ask Rain or Shine, Columbian, and Meralco. They know. San Miguel knows too, the Beermen were almost done for after all.

Castro begging off from the national team has opened up spots for guys like Bolick. The Blur didn’t get negative reactions from his decision and in fact, he was respected for it.

Bolick is one of those people who understood Castro’s thought process.

“Respetuhin mo kasi family niya yun eh,” he said.

“Family always comes first. Kasi nakapag-serve na rin siya ng matagal eh, bigay na natin sa kanya,” Bolick added.

 


NEW WORLDS TO CONQUER

The Northport rookie has no guaranteed spot in the national team. But as a Gilas newbie, Bolick welcomes the challenge and opportunity. His time will come, just like it did when he played for San Beda in college.

“Blessing na sa akin yun. Ang sakin, mag-trabaho lang ako, kung ano man desisyon nila, yun na yun. Ganun lang parati,” Bolick said on his Gilas spot.

“Sa akin, masaya na ako na napunta ako dun. Pero wala pa kasi alam kung mala-line up o hindi di ba. Masaya na ako na pina-tawag ako sa practice. Trabaho lang ako, yun ang motivation ko. Kung hindi man ngayon, at least sa SEA Games di ba? At least nandoon na ako,” he added.

 

Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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