Dismayed with the lackluster play from Robert Bolick on Thursday, Aby Maraño came down from the stands of Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig to the press row where she knew her boyfriend would see her.
“I was frustrated up there. I wanted to tell him something because what I saw in the first half wasn’t the championship game I was expecting from him,” said Maraño, who intently watched Cignal-San Beda battle Racal for the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup plum, in Filipino.
Bolick was the first to emerge out of the dugout after the halftime break, giving Maraño a chance to give a piece of her mind.
“When Robert came out, he already saw me and he knew what that stare meant. I told him, ‘I want to see the you play like a champion. Step up.’,” the F2 Logistics middle blocker said.
That proved to be the wake-up call the Conference MVP needed as he and his fellow Hawkeyes churned out a masterful second half to hack out a 81-78 Game 3 conquest and snare the title.
Bolick finished with 14 points, seven assists, and four rebounds in the win and immediately went to Maraño after the buzzer sounded, sealing the sweet success with a kiss.
Harsh as her approach may seem, Maraño said that it’s just the way their relationship is wired.
“We’re like teammates. We approach the same whoever plays. Every time we look at each other, we always have that beast mode stare. We know each other’s message,” she said. “We critique each other. We’re like each other’s coaches. That’s how our relationship is.”
That tough love has been working for the couple, especially for Bolick who has improved a lot since leaving La Salle for San Beda. The 6-foot-1 guard has emerged as one of the top two-way players in the amateur ranks as he averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals this past conference.
Maraño shared that she couldn’t escape the role of being the confidence-booster for Bolick, a role she has been used to ever since he left Taft.
“My role has always been to bring back his confidence because back in La Salle, he was sparingly used. He knows his capabilities as a player but he couldn’t show it. There are times that he can’t eat and he’ll just sob, and I can also feel the stress,” she said. “But now that he’s been given the chance to play, I tell him that it should be a challenge for himself to prove that you made the right decision when you left La Salle for San Beda. Your coach’s decision to put you in the starting five speaks a lot on the trust he has on you, so you have no right to doubt yourself.”
And after all of Bolick’s sacrifices, Maraño is the least surprised with all of the success coming his man’s way.
“I never doubted him. I feel so proud of him that I want to wave his jersey. His past no longer matters and what’s important is now. This shows that you can’t underestimate anyone because they are the ones who really strive to work hard and one example for that is Robert because he really worked hard to get to where he is now.”