April 25, 2024

Bonnie Tan, NorthPort using preseason to search for potential Robert Bolick replacements

Bonnie Tan, NorthPort using preseason to search for potential Robert Bolick replacements
PBA / PhilStar

NorthPort Batang Pier coach Bonnie Tan is facing a gargantuan challenge: Turn the Batang Pier into winners despite the departure of superstar playmaker Robert Bolick, who has taken his talents to the Japan B.League.

Unsurprisingly, Tan and the NorthPort coaching staff intend to use the PBA’s On Tour preseason games to find potential replacements for Bolick, who averaged 20.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 0.7 steals in 29 games for the Batang Pier in Season 47.

To make up for Bolick’s departure, Tan will be looking to his veterans first to fill the slack. And the NCAA champion is hoping guys like Joshua Munzon, Arwind Santos, Paul Zamar, and Jeff Chan will respond accordingly—and they will get plenty of opportunities to do so.

"'Yun ang pinakamalaking kulang sa team kaya nga sabi ko sa team, lalo na sa veterans, eto na chance nila na mabigyan ng oras," said Tan, who was named NorthPort’s full-time head coach only last April. "This is their time to shine para maipakita 'yung mga hindi nila nagawa before."

While Tan will be banking on his veterans, Tan looks more than willing to give the younger players—JM Calma, Wendell Comboy, and Christian Balagasay, for instance—their shot as well. Tan has even enlisted two of his former Letran Knights, Fran Yu and Tommy Olivario, in NorthPort’s On Tour lineup, likely to get a firsthand look at how they might fit in the team's system.

Therefore, the Batang Pier’s On Tour games will be like auditions for everyone in the lineup, and Tan fully expects all his players to go full tilt, even if they are playing no-bearing games.

"Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila [NorthPort players], 'Huwag nating i-take it easy," said Tan. "Gusto naming maipakita 'yung winning attitude, na ayaw magpatalo."

NorthPort will start its On Tour Campaign on Wednesday versus the Meralco Bolts at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.