Black misses UAAP as Ateneo ponders 6-peat-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
RECOUNTING his good, old moments in the UAAP, outgoing Ateneo head coach Norman Black said the passion that college basketball fans put into the game was beyond comparison.
Black didn’t have the opportunity to relax a bit following the Blue Eagles’ mastery over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in Game 2 of
the UAAP finals as he immediately buckled down to work as the new bench tactician of Talk ‘N Text in the PBA.
"It was the day after and there's no noise. On the court, they can actually hear me,” Black said, referring to last Friday’s crowd at the Araneta Coliseum, the same venue where Ateneo was crowned as five-peat champions a day before.
“The atmosphere in the UAAP is just exceptional. I really haven't seen anything like this since the Crispa-Toyota (rivalry) and even then it wasn't the same because it's only a PBA game. They were just there to enjoy the game. But in the UAAP, nobody buys a ticket just to go to a game, they have special interests," he said.
Black missed the victory party for his wards in a posh bar in Makati City last Friday but he was happy to know that even some members of archrival La Salle went to join the celebration.
“I think once you leave the court, the competition is over. Why would you bring it off the court?” he told reporters moments before the traditional bonfire on the Ateneo grounds on Saturday night.
The 54-year-old Black first handled the Eagles in 2005 as he registered 110 wins as opposed to 26 losses including the humbling surrender to UST in the 2006 championship.
After engaging in a word war with UST coach Pido Jarencio over the alleged spotty officiating in Game 1, Black said the incident was already behind them.
“We've always been very friendly to one another. It's hard when there's competition, it becomes more personal. Actually, I just look for a reason how to beat the other coach,” he said.
With Black now out of the picture, withdrawal of support from businessman Manny Pangilinan and the departure of five players, can the Ateneo community expect a sixth straight crown next year?
“The program, I think, is very solid right now. The legacy that coach (Norman Black) left behind is there so the school just has to continue recruiting students who want to study and play basketball over here. They have to continue to work hard, stay humble, stay focused and really continue to improve as we look forward to next year,” said Ateneo team manager Paolo Trillo.
Ateneo has yet to find Black’s successor.
For his part, sophomore hotshot Kiefer Ravena dismissed the possibility for him to be the next skipper, saying he has teammates “who can carry the load.”
“We have a good outlook for the team and hopefully we just have to learn to work through it and double our efforts,” he said.
Back for the Eagles next year are Frank Golla, JP Erram, Juami Tiongson, Nico Elorde and Ryan Buenafe while Team B members Chris Newsome and John Lasa will also have their debut.
Ateneo will reportedly recruit Dawn Ochea of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu as well. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)