Bolts’ Black in the running for once-in-a-career award | Inquirer Sports
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Bolts’ Black in the running for once-in-a-career award

/ 04:05 AM January 13, 2021

Aaron Black (second from left) realized he was in the running for the top rookie award only after helping Meralco oust then defending champion San Miguel Beer. —PHOTO FROM PBA IMAGES

Winning the 2020 Philippine Basketball Assciation (PBA) season’s top rookie honors has crossed Aaron Black’s mind.

“We talk about it a little bit,” the Meralco guard told the Inquirer last Friday. “I’d be lying to you if I’d tell you me and family don’t want me winning the award.”

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“Every [newcomer] wants to win that award because first of all, you’re only a rookie once—It’s something you can get one time.”

Black emerged as the top contenders for the 45th season’s “Outstanding Rookie,” which the league is handing out in lieu of the traditional Rookie of the Year award after having played just one conference in its bubble instead of the usual three.

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The 23-year-old guard turned heads in his first year for Meralco during the all-Filipino conference at Clark Freeport. Black chalked up averages of 6.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals and provided depth to Bolts’ side that knocked off then defending champion San Miguel Beer during the quarterfinals, and pushed eventual winner Barangay Ginebra to five games in the final four.

There are those who will say that Black, in fact, is the front-runner for the rookie plum after finishing second in the statistical points race (17.3) behind Roosevelt Adams, Terrafirma’s versatile forward (20.3). Adams and the Dyip, however, crashed out of the elimination round.

“[Winning it] really didn’t cross my mind until we beat San Miguel. People then began telling me I’m in the running,” Black said.

“But before that, I had no idea—I was just out there helping out my team win games, which has been my mentality no matter what. If the awards come, then that’d be great,” added Black, who showed steely poise for a rookie throughout the PBA’s bubble tournament.

“It’s all the games I’ve played going into the draft—from the PBA D-League, to the MPBL (Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League), with Mighty Sports,” Black said. “All of those things prepared me for the PBA.”

Black is joined by Barangay Ginebra’s Arvin Tolentino, Alaska’s Barkley Eboña and Magnolia’s Aris Dionisio in the pool of candidates. INQ

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TAGS: Basketball, Philippine Basketball Assciation (PBA), Sports
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