AS Robert Bolick enters the final two weeks of his magical run with San Beda, the inevitable question now for the Red Lions is who’ll take Bolick’s spot as the team’s undisputed go-to guy when he leaves?
After their 75-68 win over the Lyceum Pirates, this year’s ‘King Lion’ already has the answer.
Bolick was quick to give his blessing to Fil-Canadian rookie James Canlas as San Beda’s next big thing and one couldn’t really blame him.
His head coach Boyet Fernandez already called Canlas ‘the future of San Beda,’ and after stepping up in a big way against the Pirates - with a career-high 18 points to his name – the future looks clearer and clearer for the Red Lions.
“We all know James is gonna be the next guy. I always challenge him because he has a lot of potential. I’m really jealous of him, first year ko di ako nakakalaro ng ganito eh,” Bolick said in jest.
That’s the advantage that Canlas has now. Unlike Bolick, the youthful wingman is already getting big minutes from the Red Lions - accelerating his development rapidly.
Bolick needed to jump over to Mendiola to get his minutes and look what he did with it. Now imagine Canlas continuing to develop while getting all the exposure he needs on the court.
“My first two years I never, di ko na-experience yung ganito, you know, paano mag step by step na mag improve. Pero nakikita ko kasi dati si La Salle, sila (Almond) Vosotros, tinutulungan nila ako eh. So I think it’s my responsibility. Di ko na kailangan siya turuan, he’s already a good plyer, siguro yung mga decision making lang yan,” Bolick added.
What makes Canlas special for Bolick is his willingness to take charge and attack the basket with reckless abandon.
Put that potential with experience and proper guidance and the result could be dangerous for other teams.
“Wala nama problema eh, take charge, walang problema, I see a good potential. I always challenge him because I think gagaling siya dun. Hopefully next year, our school is gonna be in good hands with him,” said Bolick.
“Hopefully di lang ngayon, final four he’ll play good as well and hopefully in the finals din, win another championship for us,” he added.
While the expectations are high, Canlas isn’t shaken with the type of pressure that he gets from coaches, teammates and the community.
He understands that being ‘pressured’ is normal and he isn’t worried at all considering that he’s been working hard to meet those expectations.
“I think the pressure is normal to us. We’ve been practicing it, and we’ve been getting great result,” Canlas said.
“First I was a little bit nervous but once I got into the game, I just feel the game come, as a rookie you always have to step up and prove something to everybody. Just give your all and play and leave it on the court.”