SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Norman Black left the PBA bubble on Friday with sweet memories of making history for Meralco in the Philippine Cup and coaching his son Aaron for the first time.
Despite the heartbreaking 83-80 loss to the Ginebra Kings through Scottie Thompson’s game-winning triple in the do-or-die semifinal game on Friday night, Black was still proud of what his Bolts achieved in the bubble.
For the first time in five years, Meralco made it to the playoffs of the all-Filipino conference, not to mention its first semifinal appearance in the league’s crown jewel in franchise history.
The Bolts zapped the five-time champion though undermanned San Miguel Beermen twice in the quarterfinals before pushing the Kings to the limit in the final four.
“Just getting as far as we did ’cause we’ve never experienced this before,” said Black when asked about his best moments in the historic bubble.
“To be able to go this far and still have the chance to get to the finals, to get that close was really a good experience and something that the team could build on for the future,” he added.
The grand slam-winning tactician also cherished taking his son and PBA rookie Aaron under his wings.
“And of course the other highlight was coaching my son for the first time, coaching Aaron who I thought up until the semifinals did very well in this conference,” said the elder Black.
Aaron was impressive in his first season as he posted 7.18 points, 4.09 rebounds and 2.09 assists through the eliminations and played valuable minutes in the playoffs, good enough for him to remain as a top contender for the Rookie of the Year award.
Norman was also glad to see Aaron getting valuable experience by going up against Ginebra’s veteran guards Stanley Pringle, Thompson and LA Tenorio.
“It was a good experience for him and something he can learn from moving forward,” said the 63-year-old American mentor.
“Knowing Aaron, the way he likes to work in his game, he’ll probably get in the lab right away and continue to try to improve. Now he knows the things he has to work on to be successful in the PBA so I’m sure he’ll continue to work hard.”