Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black is delighted for the opportunity to carry the Philippine flag again, this time in the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Nonthaburi, Thailand set from September 27 to October 2.
The Bolts were selected by the PBA board of governors on Sunday to represent the country in the annual meet. Reports say that it was FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann who requested the Philippines to join the tilt.
“It feels good to represent the country,” said Black, a former national team coach himself, Monday afternoon after their tune-up versus the Terrific 12-bound iECO Green Warriors-PBA D-League All Stars, which they won, 76-57.
Black shared that the Orangemen are now looking for another foreign reinforcement to bolster their bid for the showpiece, someone whom they can pair up with two-time PBA Best Import awardee Allen Durham.
“Right now we’re in the process of trying to get a big import [to] help support Allen Durham and the rest of the team, because we know that our competition is gonna be quite tough, and we know that they’re gonna be very big,” he said.
The Bolts will be facing teams such as Alvark Tokyo of Japan; the Liaoning Leopards of China, SK Knights of Korea, Al Riyadi team of Lebanon, Pauian of Chinese Taipei, Petrochimi of Iran, and Thai ball club Mono Vampire.
And for Black, these clubs are their country’s version of the Philippines’ San Miguel Beermen.
“It will be the San Miguels of each country. So the San Miguel of Japan, the San Miguel of China, the San Miguel of whoever else, so you’re talking about tough competition, probably the best club teams in their particular country.”
However, Black isn’t looking too far ahead.
For him, he still has one more concern before flying to Nonthaburi, and that is going up against Eugene Phelps and the Phoenix Fuel Masters on September 19 – or right after the PBA’s break given for the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Phoenix are currently 3-1 in the 2018 Governors’ Cup, while the Bolts are 1-2.
“It’s not just the FIBA Asia that we have to worry about. We also have to worry about our PBA game against Phoenix on the 19th,” said the decorated tactician.
“We have a double duty, but it feels good to represent the country.”
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