Learning never stops
CLARK—Norman Black is not resting on his laurels, not even after a dozen titles in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as a player and a coach—including a rare Triple Crown sweep in 1989 with San Miguel.
In fact, Black has kept himself busy during the lockdown studying a style of the sport from the other side of the globe via online sessions.
“I think it’s important to attend coaching sessions. Whether you use what they’re doing, or even if you’re just learning so you can be familiar in case your opponents use it, you need to learn if you want to compete. I try to go as many classes as I can,” Black told the Inquirer.
He will get a chance to put to test whatever he has learned. Black won his last championship with Talk ‘N Text in 2013 and is seeking a franchise-first crown for Meralco. The Bolts have been perennial bridesmaids in the Governors’ Cup, but in a compressed season restart that has suddenly become an open race, Black hopes to push his team into title contention.
“The goal is still to get better every year,” he said in the Bolts’ official Facebook page (facebook.com/meralcoboltsofficial). “Despite the fact that we didn’t have the PBA, I’ve kept myself very involved in basketball,” he said. “I’ve been joining a lot of Zoom coaching sessions during the lockdown.”
Zoom training sessions have been the rage among PBA coaches early into the disruptions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Months ago, a giddy Nash Racela, Blackwater’s coach, raved about several webinars, saying the free time has allowed coaches like him to soak up new information and revisit old ones.
Racela will also get a chance to test what he learned soon. Both Meralco and Blackwater have been slotted at the second playdate at Angeles University Foundation here.
The Bolts play Phoenix in Monday’s first game, while the Elite take on NorthPort in the nightcap. The restart kicks off on Sunday with a doubleheader featuring Barangay Ginebra going up against NLEX in the main game, right after the restart officially kicks off with Alaska battling TNT at 4 p.m.
The Bolts’ core remains intact for the bubble games. Chris Newsome will spearhead a crew that features Raymond Almazan now fully recovered from a meniscus tear in his left knee that played a huge role in the team’s Governors’ Cup title defeat against Ginebra. Black’s son, Aaron, is the latest join the crew.
Black said that attending those Zoom sessions is a small price to pay in a league where coaches are easily replaced.
“If you want to compete, you have to keep learning,” he said.
And it couldn’t be more fitting during such an extraordinary time.
“Take a look at all that we’re up against this year, with what’s happening in the world right now. You have to be strong mentally. You have to figure out what you need to get the job done. You need to fight through it and have a focused attitude,” he added.
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