Aaron Black said the Outstanding Rookie award will serve as motivation to work harder going into his sophomore season with the Meralco Bolts.
The 23-year-old guard became the lowest pick ever to bag the top honor for first-year players after prevailing over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Arvin Tolentino, Alaska’s Barkley Ebona, Terrafirma’s Roosevelt Adams and Magnolia’s Aris Dionisio.
“This will definitely push me to work harder for the next conference. Looking forward to what’s in store for us at Meralco,” Black said after being selected for the award in Sunday’s PBA Special Awards.
He was selected 18th overall by the Bolts in the 2019 Rookie Draft, giving him the opportunity to play for his dad, Meralco coach Norman Black.
Skeptics were quick to question the pick, but the younger Black earned the minutes he got from his father and was one of the key reasons for the Bolts’ entry to the Philippine Cup semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
He made an impact in just his fourth pro game, hitting 16 points with four rebounds and four assists in Meralco’s overtime win over Magnolia and averaged 11.5 points on 40-percent shooting with 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists as Meralco’s ended San Miguel Beer’s five-year reign in the Philippine Cup by overcoming the latter’s twice-to-beat advantage.
“It was a big motivational factor for me being drafted in the second round, as well as playing for my dad,” said Black while acknowledging sentiments of those who raised their eyebrows.
“It was a big thing hearing all the whispers as I got drafted, so I really just made a point the six months before we got to the bubble to do my best to work hard and be ready for the league,” he added.