TALK ‘N Text head coach Norman Black came into the game Friday night with just one thing in mind – to win.
Since becoming a playing-coach with Magnolia in 1985 to start his mentoring career in the PBA, that has always been the mindset of the 55-year-old American.
So it came as no surprise that 27 years later, Black registered his 500th victory in the league following the Tropang Texters’ 109-98 beating of sister-team Meralco at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Black, who previously had stints as import for Tefilin, San Miguel Beer, Great Taste, and Magnolia, joined an elite group of coaches in the 500-win club that included the legendary `Maestro’ Virgilio `Baby’ Dalupan, San Mig Coffee’s Tim Cone, and Rain or Shine’s fiery mentor Yeng Guiao.
The soft-spoken Black said coming into the game, he had no idea about the milestone he was about to achieve.
“But I think that win just made me realize I’ve been around the league for a long time,” said a beaming Black. “I’ve been gone for 10 years and that’s a pretty a good accomplishment.”
Black’s had his last PBA tour of duty in 2002 with Sta. Lucia Realty, a team he led to its inaugural championship by winning the Governors Cup in 2000.
From 2004 to 2012, Black handled the Ateneo Blue Eagles, whom he steered to a fifth straight UAAP men’s basketball title just last October before finally assuming the coaching job of Talk `N Text.
Tropang Texters guard Larry Fonacier, a former Ateneo Blue Eagle gunner, said Black’s coaching success comes with a lot of hard work as evident on how he prepares each game.
“Coach is a preparation nerd. He looks at stats and video 24/7. That's why his teams always have a chance to win because they are so well equipped,” said Fonacier, currently one of Black’s reliable gunners.
“He'll always try to squeeze the best from whatever talent he has. That's why his players always want to play for him,” added the 30-year-old Fonacier, who averages 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists for the Tropang Texters in the ongoing Philippine Cup.
Black’s 10 PBA championships including a rare Grand Slam in 1989, speaks of his winning attitude, something he has passed on to his former players and now coaches like Derek and Franz Pumaren, Pido Jarencio, and Jong Uichico.
Derek Pumaren has two PBA titles, which he won with Sunkist in 1995. Franz, currently the coach of Air21 Express, followed his elder brother in the business and steered De La Salle University to four straight UAAP championships from 1998 to 2001.
Pido Jarencio, who played for Black in San Miguel Beer, piloted University of Santo Tomas to the 2006 UAAP championship in a title series against the Black-mentored Ateneo Blue Eagles.
Black however, got even with Jarencio just last month when the Eagles swept the Tigers in the Finals for their five-peat title.
Uichico, meantime, owns eight PBA championships, doing the trick with San Miguel Beer, and later on with Ginebra.