For Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black, having the right mix of personnel will truly bring wonders to a team.
That’s what the veteran coach declared on Tuesday evening, when his Orangemen lost yet again to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 90-104, in Game Two of their 2018 Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal series.
According to Black, trying to take down a team that has ample pieces – and size – from top to bottom such as the Gin Kings is definitely a challenge for a team that doesn’t have that kind of composition, just like Meralco.
The Barangay have the likes of 7-foot center Greg Slaughter, 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar, 6-foot-7 forwards Joe Devance and Prince Caperal, and 6-foot-5 import Justin Brownlee, who can either play guard or forward.
“Well, first of all, they’ve got a very good team. I don’t have a seven-footer, I don’t have a six-nine guy, basically national team players,” said Black after the loss – their third playoff loss to Ginebra. “We’re trying to be as competitive as we can.
“It’s hard when we have six-fives matching up with seven-footers, but that’s just the way it is.”
Black also believes that it’s not just pure, great coaching by Tim Cone that has steered the Barangay to where they are right now, but also the players they have at their disposal – the Barangay have the best of both worlds, basically.
“Tim is a good coach, but he’s also coaching some really good players… So he’s taking advantage of it, he’s winning with them,” added the veteran bench strategist. “They have a great coach and they have a really good team.
“That’s a good combination.”
Black even cited an example to further prove his point.
“An example would be Leo Austria. He’s been winning a lot of championships lately, and that’s because he also has a very good team. Leo Austria was a good coach in Adamson, but he couldn’t beat the Ateneo team because we had a very good team in Ateneo. I had Greg Slaughter on my side, I had big guys on my side,” Black recalled.
During that time, the Adamson Soaring Falcons had the likes of Jericho Cruz, Rodney Brondial, Lester Alvarez, Don Trollano, and Alex Nuyles. Yet they never made it to the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals.
On the other hand, Black’s Blue Eagles went on to win a rare “five-peat” spanning 2009-13.
“So it also depends on your personnel, who you’re coaching.”