Lead guards have often eluded the NLEX Road Warriors one way or another.

Kiefer Ravena held the fort for a few years before he decided to take his talents to the Shiga Lakestars of Japan’s B.League. The Road Warriors had the chance to draft Mikey Williams but they traded away the fourth overall pick they acquired from the Blackwater Bossing to sister team TNT Tropang Giga. And then there’s Kevin Alas, whose great play usually gets overshadowed by unfortunate injuries.

The missed chances, along with the wheeling and dealing, prevented NLEX from having any stability to help them advance past the quarterfinals more than once in the last five years. To say the Road Warriors were searching for their identity was one thing, but all they needed was someone to lead them forward.

Enter Robert Bolick.

Bolick himself had been finding a home for himself, bouncing from the NorthPort Batang Pier to the Japan B2 League’s Fukushima Firebonds. He only lasted one game with the Firebonds, who granted the former DLSU Green Archer and San Beda Red Lion’s request to be released. The Batang Pier still held his PBA rights but eventually traded him to NLEX back in December.

Naturally, there was a feeling out phase between Bolick and the Road Warriors, who were in the middle of their 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign. Nevertheless, he managed to shake off the rust and finish the conference as the leading local scorer for NLEX.


While the 2023-2024 Commissioner’s Cup ended early for Bolick and the Road Warriors, things seem quite different in the 2024 Honda PBA Philippine Cup. NLEX racked up some solid victories over NorthPort and the Meralco Bolts, with their lone loss to the currently-undefeated Terrrafirma Dyip not something to cry about.

The win over the Bolts in particular was a feather in the cap for Bolick, who scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The nifty layups, bigtime shots, and the critical playmaking were all on display and all of that was why the Road Warriors decided to acquire Bolick. More importantly, all of this came during critical moments and have not gone for naught for NLEX. Teams like the Commissioner’s Cup champion San Miguel Beermen and the runner-up Magnolia Hotshots have yet to play, but it’s great to see that Bolick and the Road Warriors have capitalized on their early chances. NLEX head coach Frankie Lim is trying to turn the Road Warriors into the Red Lions and while Lim and Bolick never got to reach one another in San Beda, Bolick seems to fit well in Lim’s system.

Bolick’s success with NLEX is well and good, but it’s hard to truly celebrate it without having thoughts of his potential departure to the Tropang Giga down the road. Current TNT players Poy Erram, Calvin Oftana, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser all spent time with the Road Warriors before finding themselves with the Tropang Giga. If Bolick indeed joins the trend, then NLEX is pretty much back to square one.

In his four months with the NLEX Road Warriors, Robert Bolick has been everything they’ve been searching for in a lead guard. Given recent trends, it’s hard to really see him there in the long run, but for now, Bolick can at least call the Road Warriors home for the 2024 Honda Philippine Cup.