From San Beda’s second-year coach Jamike Jarin down to his players, the team’s renewed trust has been considered as the major factor behind the Red Lions’ fearsome form in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tournament.
That’s why it was no big surprise to see guard Robert Bolick heeding the call of his San Beda teammates, notably fellow rookie Davon Potts, to lace up Nike ‘Kobe X Elite’ shoes instead of his former shoes, the Nike Hyperlive.
And boy did it work wonders.
The 5-foot-11 transferee from La Salle finally showed glimpses of his true potential on Thursday night, coming up with an inspired all-around performance in San Beda’s 85-74 victory over Mapua at The Arena in San Juan City.
Thrusted into the starting role due to the absence of injured skipper Dan Sara, Bolick delivered to the delight of Jarin and the San Beda faithful, collecting 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while knocking down big buckets in the stretch to hold off Mapua’s figthback.
While he certainly benefited from a longer playing time—almost 26 minutes—with the absence of Sara, Bolick could not help but feel that the “it must be the shoes” saying somehow worked on his favor.
“Natutuwa ako kasi ‘yung past practices, sabi nila ‘You know what, you should wear the Kobe shoes,’” Bolick recalled during the post-match interview, with Potts on the hearing distance.
“Hindi ko pa nasususuot ang Kobe shoes. (I) just (want to) try and something (good) might happen.”
And certainly it worked, with Bolick coming through with his finest performance yet that enabled the Red Lions to post their seventh straight victory.
“Maybe there’s something with the Mamba Mentality, Mamba shoes. Swerte eh,” he beamed, referring to the Nike shoe collection made in honor of retired Los Angeles Lakers superstar and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.
While he refused to take credit with Bolick’s latest performance, Potts was just very proud to see his fellow freshman deliver.
“I love Bolick to death,” said the former Cal State-Los Angeles U stalwart who torched the Cardinals with 25 points, 10 coming in the final frame.
“Me and him have a very long way. We both started at San Beda with Team B during our residency,” Potts added.
“He sacrifices a lot. A lot of people don’t know that he’s a scorer. He’s a natural scorer. For him to go for a triple double, that shows what type of person Bolick is. That’s the heart of our team right there.”
Bolick said the Red Lions’ trust continues to pay off, saying: “‘Yung trust namin sa isat’isa, talagang team play kami. One thing na gusto ko, walang jealousy. Walang jealous sa aming team. Whoever gets going, we’ll look at him. It’s a motivation for our team.”
Having cold-blooded gunners like Potts, AC Soberano and Radge Tongco in the fold have been making the life easier for Red Lions so long as they get touches, according to Bolick.
“When you see Davon, AC, Radge wide open, ‘pag hindi mo pinasa, ‘bobo’ ka na,” he said.
“I’ve seen them make those shots in practice—flawless. They can shoot the lights out. When they are open, I can already see them miles away. So why force your shot when they have a better shot? And they can make it—absolutely.” – By Jerome Lagunzad
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