Bolick’s mo­ment

King Lion de­liv­ers as San Beda grabs 1-0 Fi­nals lead and hands Lyceum first loss this sea­son

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - By Cedelf P. Tupas @cedelf­p­tINQ

Right in front of a deliri­ous San Beda Col­lege gallery, a pumped up King Lion Robert Bolick drove to the bas­ket for a layup and re­peat­edly pointed both hands to the floor as if to say he owned the mo­ment and the pres­sure that came with it.

This was Bolick at his finest—a cold-blooded as­sas­sin in crunch time and an emo­tional leader when his team needed one.

In the big­gest game of the sea­son, Bolick once again thrived un­der the bright lights, scor­ing nine of his team’s last 11 points as the Red Lions handed the Lyceum Pi­rates their first loss of the sea­son with a 94-87 win in Game 1 of NCAA Sea­son 93 fi­nals at Smart Araneta Coli­seum.

Bolick fin­ished with 24 points, in­clud­ing nine straight points capped by a layup with 35 sec­onds re­main­ing for a 91-82 ad­van­tage as the Lions com­pleted a come­back from 12 points down in the third quar­ter to move within a win of a 10th ti­tle in 12 years.

“Hon­estly, I was re­ally tired and was just look­ing for a way to get mo­ti­vated so I looked at the San Beda crowd,” said Bolick, who was im­me­di­ately whisked back to the bench by coach Boyet Fer­nan­dez with the ball­game yet to be fin­ished.

True enough, the Pi­rates, mak­ing their first fi­nals ap­pear­ance, scored five straight points off turnovers, but the deficit proved too tough to over­come as they lost for the first time in 19 games this sea­son.

For Fer­nan­dez, the win doesn’t change the fact that the Lions are still the un­der­dogs in the se­ries, which re­sumes with Game 2 on Thurs­day.

“I’ll stick to the state­ment that we are still the un­der­dogs be­cause we won only one game,” said Fer­nan­dez. “It’s not yet over. I just give credit to my play­ers, we were down by more than 12 points and they never gave up. Peo­ple said the heart of Lyceum is re­ally big but the hearts of my play­ers are big as well.”

The Lions rode Don­ald Tank­oua’s bril­liance in the early stages of the game and got timely hits from Davon Potts, be­fore show­ing the cham­pi­onship com­po­sure that they’re known for.

Tank­oua pow­ered his way to 27 points and grabbed 20 re­bounds, while Potts re­dis­cov­ered his shoot­ing touch with 15 points, in­clud­ing four triples.

Named the league’s Most Valu­able Player be­fore the game, Lyceum for­ward CJ Perez fin­ished with 25 points and col­lected eight boards, but the Pi­rates had no an­swer for Bolick down the stretch.

A dunk by Mike Nzeusseu pulled the Pi­rates to within 82-83, be­fore Bolick banked in a triple from the top of the key and hit three foul shots af­ter he was fouled by JC Marcelino while at­tempt­ing a triple.

“Lyceum is a re­ally strong team,” said Bolick. “I find my­self think­ing about ways to beat them. I’m just happy I got this chance to make up for my er­rors in the last two losses against Lyceum.”

Ear­lier, La Salle Green Hills also moved within a whisker of the juniors ti­tle af­ter hold­ing off Ma­pua, 74-68.

Peo­ple said the heart of [Lyceum] is re­ally big but the hearts of my play­ers were re­ally big as well BOYET FER­NAN­DEZ San Beda coach

—AU­GUST DELA CRUZ

San Beda coach Boyet Fer­nan­dez rushes to hug Robert Bolick af­ter a clutch shot.

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