Robert Bolick’s return could not have come at a better time for the NorthPort Batang Pier after gaining more momentum going into the homestretch of the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations.
Bolick erupted for 30 points in his return from a stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers as the Batang Pier continued their turnaround from a 0-5 start with a 116-103 win over the Blackwater Bossing.
His return came a week after NorthPort shrugged off his absence to put up two victories over erstwhile unbeaten Magnolia Pambansang Manok and Phoenix Super LPG to put itself in the playoff picture.
And now that Bolick is back donning the Batang Pier jersey, coach Pido Jarencio can only be happy with the timing.
“Berto is Berto,” Jarencio said. “Talaga naman, he’s one of the heart and souls of this team. At yun nga, blessing na nakabalik na siya, eto tutulungan niya tayo, tutulungan niya kami dito sa run natin.
“Malaking bagay si Berto, yung balik niya,” added Jarencio.
The third-year guard hit six three-pointers and added 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals, showing the form that made him one of the top players from the Philippine Cup.
At 4-5, NorthPort gained a tie for eighth place with Phoenix Super LPG with another struggling team in Terrafirma next on Saturday before a big battle against TNT in the tournament’s final elimination round playdate on March 11.
Bolick’s absence did pave the way for some players to step up, particularly Jerrick Balanza and Paolo Taha.
Even with Bolick back, Balanza and Taha were instrumental for NorthPort with their play on both ends.
Balanza posted 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in another starting role while Taha came off the bench to score nine for NorthPort.