Many expected Robert Bolick to forego his final year with the San Beda College Red Lions and join this year’s stacked 2017 PBA Draft class.
And Bolick had every reason to join, as he has had a stellar 2016-17 campaign.
After helping San Beda regain the crown exactly a year ago, the proud son of Ormoc City took his talents to the PBA D-League. There he turned heads, lifting the Cignal-San Beda Hawkeyes to the 2017 Aspirants’ Cup championship and winning the tournament’s MVP crown with averages of 12.2 points on 49.5 percent shooting, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals.
That alone showed everyone that he is ripe to enter the D-League.
The 21-year-old then continued his rampage in the NCAA, leading San Beda to a 16-1 record with norms of 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
But with the PBA setting its draft application deadline to 5:00pm of Thursday, October 12, Bolick asked advice from everyone if he should jump to the big league, including head coach Boyet Fernandez and team manager Jude Roque.
“He texted me at around 4:55, he told me, ‘Coach, I’m sorry I already sent my application.’ I told him, ‘Hey! You still have five more minutes to take it out.’,” recalled Fernandez, who was the seventh overall pick in the 1993 draft.
“Only advice I gave him is look at the future. Mas maganda pa rin na mag-graduate ka. You still have one more year for San Beda but again, it’s really his decision.”
At the end of the day, Bolick decided to pull his application out. And it was because of San Beda College, the school that gave him a chance to show his wares after being stuck on La Salle’s bench from 2013-14.
“Yung decision ko to stay is because I love the school. Kung hindi naman dahil sa kanila, di naman ako magkakaganito e. Uulitin ko, bench player lang ako pero tinanggap nila ako with all heart and helped me improve my game,” a passionate Bolick expressed.
“Nakapunta ako sa States for the first time dahil sa kanila. Amerikano ako ah, first time ko nakapunta ng States because of them.
“Marami silang naibigay sa akin, from the security guard, janitors, teachers, lahat. Sobrang sarap sa San Beda. Minsan ka lang naman maging college player eh,” he added.
Moreover, his family told him that it is better to have a diploma before getting drafted so that he will be ready for life after basketball or if the PBA does not work for him.
“Yung family ko din gusto rin nila ako maka-graduate. One more year na lang kaya ko na mag-graduate, kung may bagsak bagsak ng kaunti, kaunti lang naman. At least kaunti na lang hahabulin ko kung magpa-draft ako,” said Bolick.
Fernandez, on his part, was delighted to have one more run with his ace point guard, as next season’s field will be tougher with a retooled Letran Knights and a more mature Lyceum Pirates on deck.
“Again, I really appreciate that Robert took the other way and stayed with San Beda. I’m sure the whole San Beda community will love him for that,” said Fernandez, who owns a nursing degree from Colegio San Agustin–Bacolod, “I cannot ask for more, having Robert Bolick in my line-up next year. It will be good for us.”
“Sa totoo talaga, tinago niya yung papers ko. Tagal ko nang hinihingi sa kanya, wala pa rin,’ quipped Bolick.