Meralco coach Norman Black believes everything can still happen despite notions that the chase for the PBA Philippine Cup crown will be limited to a four-team contest between defending champion Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer, Magnolia and TNT.
“I think any of those teams can be beaten, and that’s what we’re gonna try to do this conference,” Black told former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on the Power and Play program that aired Saturday, April 24.
Black was reacting to the recent sentiments of NLEX counterpart Yeng Guiao, who conceded the rest of the pack will only be competing for fifth place with the three San Miguel Corporation teams and the flagship franchise of the MVP Group loaded with talent.
While acknowledging the realities going into the season, Black also said that plenty of things must happen for the other teams to put themselves in title contention.
“I’m not naive. I know that San Miguel, Ginebra, Magnolia, TNT are the favorites coz they have the most talent,” he said. “But I think other teams have also improved their talent level, but you might have to catch a break.
“For instance, you can’t catch any injuries to key players. You can’t have that, particularly in the most important moments of the tournament. That can’t happen.
“Two, guys have to peak at the right time. They got to play as well as we get close to the end of the elimination round to get into the playoffs. If you can do that, you’ll never know what might happen.
“And then, you may have to win a game like Ginebra beat us in the buzzer to get into the Finals. You have to win a game like that. Sometimes you just have to make those shots for us to make it to the next level,” added Black, referring to Meralco’s loss to Ginebra in last season’s Philippine Cup semifinals that ended on Scottie Thompson’s corner three in the final seconds.
Black also hope that his team can replicate their semifinal finish in the bubble in order to defy preseason notions. The Bolts made some upgrades to their roster by acquiring Mac Belo from the Blackwater Bossing and selecting former University of the East and 3×3 star Alvin Pasaol in last month’s draft.
“I think for us, the most important thing for us is to put ourselves in a position to be able to do that again,” said Black.