Robert Bolick

Will Robert Bolick’s Hot Shooting Result In First BPC Award?

NLEX Road Warriors star Robert Bolick is on pace to produce a historic conference after putting up impressive numbers in the Philippine Cup.

Since coming back from Japan, Robert Bolick has been on a tear for the NLEX Road Warriors. That’s been especially true in the ongoing 2024 PBA Philippine Cup, where he is averaging a career-high 27.4 points per game.

That figure leads all players in the Philippine Cup, and has propelled the shifty guard to the top of the statistical race for the Best Player of the Conference. In addition, Bolick is also tops in assists per game this conference, dishing out 7.0 per contest.

Add his 5.6 rebounds per game and other stats, and that gives Bolick 44.5 SPs (statistical points) per game, according to the PBA stats group. That’s at least 3.0 SPs clear of his closest pursuer, Terrafirma Dyip rookie Stephen Holt, and 3.5 SPs better than the guy in third place, nine-time BPC winner June Mar Fajardo.

Holt kept his own BPC bid and the Dyip’s campaign alive after they ousted the NorthPort Batang Pier on Wednesday night to claim the no. 8 seed and a showdown with Fajardo and the top-seeded Beermen, who have a massive twice-to-beat advantage.

A Bolick win would be significant for the league and represent a major breakthrough. Aside from being the first Road Warrior to win BPC, it would end a run of BPC winners coming from just three teams.

Players from the SMC group have all but monopolized the BPC, winning 15 of the last 16 awards dating back to the 2016-17 Philippine Cup, with TNT’s Jayson Castro the lone non-SMB player to break the stranglehold. During this stretch, Fajardo won five, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger twice each, and Calvin Abueva (Magnolia Hotshots), Paul Lee (Magnolia), CJ Perez (San Miguel Beermen), Stanley Pringle (Barangay Ginebra), Chris Ross (San Miguel), and Greg Slaughter (Barangay Ginebra) once each.

Even if he doesn’t win BPC, Bolick is already on course to make league history. His 27.4PPG is one of the highest averages in a conference by a local in league history, and the highest since Terrence Romeo averaged 28.2PPG for GlobalPort in the 2016-17 Philippine Cup.

Based on The Game’s research, at least two other PBA legends also averaged at least 27PPG in an All-Filipino/Philippine Cup conference, namely Ramon Fernandez (28.77PPG in the 1984 1st AFC and 30.13PPG in the 1984 2nd AFC) and Ricardo Brown (30.2PPG in the 1985 AFC). Additionally, playing as part of the guest team Northern Cement, naturalized player Chip Engelland averaged 30.74PPG in the 1984 2nd AFC.

The single-season scoring average record for a local was set by the late great Danny Florencio in 1977, when he averaged an astounding 32.3PPG, without the benefit of a three-point shot.

If he keeps up this torrid pace next season and the Road Warriors advance deeper in the playoffs each conference, Bolick would be firmly in the MVP conversation and inch closer to the league scoring records.

To be clear, the BPC criteria also includes votes from players, the media, and the league itself. Plus, statistics from the playoffs (quarterfinals and semifinals) will also be added. So if Bolick wants to solidify his lead and attract more votes, the Road Warriors likely need to advance to at least the semifinals.

To do that, they’ll have to get past sister team Meralco Bolts in their best-of-three quarterfinals that starts Friday.

Thanks to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III and PBA historian Jay P. Mercado for providing certain stats.

Banner Image by PBA Media Bureau.

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