NorthPort sophomore Robert Bolick thinks the result of the team’s campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup restart would have been different if the team had a complete roster inside the bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Bolick wasn’t able to join the Batang Pier because of injury, and it was only last Saturday when he was given clearance by Dr. Raul Canlas to play after recovering from an ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament surgery.
“Sayang talaga… siguro nga kung kumpleto kami,” Bolick told Manila Bulletin during a phone interview Wednesday. “Pero hindi rin natin masabi, kung maka-pasok ba kami (in the playoffs).”
“Siguro tignan na lang natin next year… medyo matagal pa. Basta gulatan na lang siguro next year. Tignan natin, pero matagal pa naman. Gulatan na lang kami sa next season ng PBA.”
A core of NorthPort is composed of Bolick, Sean Anthony, Christian Standhardinger, Kevin Ferrer, Garvo Lanete, Jonathan Grey and Paolo Taha.
But Bolick tore his ACL in his right knee in a game against San Miguel Beer in late October in the Governors’ Cup.
Although it was projected that his recovery would only take eight months, the quarantine measures delayed his rehabilitation due to the closure of facilities.
“Now ok na ako maglaro ng basketball, tignan ko kasi wala pa naman. Maganda ngayon may clearance na ako, so puwedeng puwede na ako mag-basketball uli,” said Bolick, the former San Beda stalwart who was selected No. 3 overall by NorthPort during the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.
Without their ace point guard, NorthPort struggled this conference. The team started 0-4 before it finally won its first game, eventually finishing the conference with a 1-10 card following a 120-99 defeat to SMB last Tuesday at the AUF gym in Clark, Pampanga.
The absence of veteran forward Sean Anthony also added to the team’s misery after he hurt his hamstring early in the tournament.
Last season, NorthPort made the playoffs in all three conferences.
As a rookie, Bolick played a key role as NorthPort clinched No. 7 seed in the Philippines Cup and the twice-to-beat No. 2 spot in the Commissioner’s Cup, though the team lost in the playoffs against Rain or Shine the first conference and to SMB in the second conference.
The team also claimed the eighth spot in the Governors’ Cup despite the absence of Bolick, and the Batang Pier stunned No. 1 NLEX Road Warriors in the quarterfinal to enter the semifinals for just the second time in franchise history.
NorthPort lost to eventual champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 3-1, in the semifinal.
Bolick also played for Gilas Pilipinas last year in the FIBA World Cup in China.