Basketball never stops for coach Norman Black, steers TNT to a winBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Basketball just never stops for multi-titled coach Norman Black.
After achieving a rare feat of five straight titles for Ateneo in the UAAP Thursday night, he then steered Talk N’ Text to a victory in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday.
Black, though, admits it’s still a work in progress for him and the Texters, who remain undefeated following a 108-104 victory over Global Port.
“It’s still a work in progress for me. As you have seen, there was a lot of miscommunication tonight. The players are still learning my system,” said Black, who even felt new to the atmosphere inside the PBA press room.
“It’s more quiet here that in the UAAP (press room),” Black, who spent nine years in the amateurs, said after the interview.
Tonight wasn’t Black’s official debut as the head coach — but when he saw the Texters on the brink of defeat, he couldn’t help but take over the drawing board during the huddle.
“I did not plan to be hands on. I had a late night last night,” shared Black, who’s only 24 hours removed from his last day as Ateneo’s mentor.
“But I guess the adrenaline and the juices started to flow and there’s a possibility we might lose so I want a hand on what’s going to happen out there.”
Talk N’ Text barely escaped the Batang Pier on a dagger triple by Ranidel De Ocampo with 9.2 seconds left, but Black thinks the offense left a lot to be desired.
“In the end, I tried to take control a little bit more but even with that said, I’m calling plays that aren’t being executed.”
Black is not new to the intricacies of the Talk N’ Text team, though, as he has been handling the defensive skills of the team even under erstwhile head coach Reyes.
“Defensively, we should be a lot better than we look like right now on the court because that’s what I handled under coach Chot. But even then, the defense is a little suspect,” said Black.
But Ateneo’s winningest coach, though, knows that a lot of hardwork has to be dedicated for Talk N’ Text to be a well-oiled machine again.
First in order for Black is to transition Talk N’ Text from a squad whose bread and butter is the dribble and drive to a team a team lethal in set plays.
“The number one concern for me right now is our inability to execute in offense,” Said Black. “We wanna combine both (set plays and dribble drive. I’m still trying to teach them to execute.”
But knowing Black and what he’s done to Ateneo in eight years, it is expected that Talk N’ Text will be in championship poise in no time.
“Give me three to four weeks, we will be running smoothly,” Black said.