Rising above adversity

Playing with chip on shoulder, Bolick gets another chance to prove self as Gilas Pilipinas chases Olympic berth

By: Musong R. Castillo - Reporter / @MusongINQ September 06,2019 - 01:04 PM

BEIJING—Robert Bolick is quite a unique individual for the simple reason that he is never satisfied in life, most especially his career.

He’s been trying to prove himself at every level—from college, to the D-League, to the PBA, and now, with Gilas Pilipinas as one of two rookies included in the Fiba World Cup squad.

“Always,” Bolick said, when told that he seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder every time, everywhere. “I don’t like to lose motivation, I like to look at negative comments and feed off [them]. That really helps me a lot.”

Bolick was cut by La Salle and was forced to take his act to San Beda where he led the Red Lions to several NCAA titles. He was drafted third overall by NorthPort in the PBA this year and has emerged as one of coach Pido Jarencio’s top go-to guys.

“You have to go through adversities to be successful,” he said.

One of the last additions to the Final 12 by coach Yeng Guiao after injuries to veteran PBA superstars hit the team, Bolick played his first three games as an international and delivered only in a way someone who wants to prove himself could.

Together with fellow rookie, CJ Perez, Bolick has been one of the few bright spots for coach Yeng Guiao.

“It’s a gift from God,” said Bolick, who tweets religious verses every night, every time he goes to bed, without fail, acknowledging that God is the center of his life.

And beyond his faith, “I just work hard, really work hard.”

He conquered this latest challenge in his very young career after finishing Group D play on Wednesday with 10 points in an 84-81 overtime loss to Angola for a 7.7-point average going into the consolation phase, where the Philippines will play Tunisia first on Friday.

“For sure, the media, the coaches never thought that I could get here,” he said.

Very few really did.

He gets another chance to prove his worth at 8 p.m. at Wukesong Arena, as the Filipinos will be the underdogs against a Tunisian side in Group N, where Gilas Pilipinas exhausts a final shot at punching an outright ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.

Team Philippines needs to win its last two games—the other one being against Iran on Sunday—to have a shot at Tokyo.

But a minus-108 record in three Group D losses—the worst in the tournament—will haunt the Filipinos even if they sweep those two games and end up tied with another country for that Olympic slot.

Tunisia is one of the best teams in Africa at the moment, having the size and agility like Angola, an 84-81 overtime winner over Gilas on Wednesday night at Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena.

Save for host China, no Asian team as of this writing has won a group match.

China was also relegated to the consolation pool after losing its last two games, against Poland and Venezuela.

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TAGS: above, Bolick, diversity, Gilas Pilipinas, Olympic, rise

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