AARON Black said his nomination for the Outstanding Rookie award of 2020 is a product of his hardwork as well as his motivation to prove that he belongs in the PBA.
Black is one of the five candidates in the award that will be handed out in lieu of the Rookie of the Year honors in a 2020 season that was compressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others vying for the award are Arvin Tolentino of Barangay Ginebra, Roosevelt Adams of Terrafirma, Barkley Ebona of Alaska, and Aris Dionisio of Magnolia.
The winners will be revealed on January 17 when the PBA stages an awards ceremony in a virtual setting.
“Definitely an honor to be considered as one of the better rookies of the bubble,” said Black. “For me, it’s really a credit to my teammates and coaches for putting me in that position.”
The former Ateneo guard, picked in the second round at 18th overall by dad Norman Black for Meralco, stands to become the lowest-drafted player to win a top rookie award.
Larry Fonacier, the 14th pick in 2005 draft by Red Bull, currently holds the record as the lowest draft pick to win the Rookie of the Year award.
When told about the fact, Black said hard work trumps draft positions for rookies.
“Even if you are drafted in the third or fourth round, if you work your butt off and you have the opportunity to show what you work for, I think it’s possible,” said Black.
Black admitted being selected in the second round as well as being chosen by no less than his father motivated him even more to work on his game.
“Definitely, it motivated me,” he said. “Not only that. I knew that there will be a lot of talk about if I belong in the league. It was a double motivation for me to work my hardest to make sure that I did prove that I can play in the league.”
Black averaged 7.18 points, 4.09 rebounds, and 2.09 assists in the elimination round. He was also a vital cog for Meralco’s campaign in the playoffs that ended with a Game 5 loss to Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals.
The Meralco rookie also said he has not won any major award in his basketball career, except perhaps when he was still very young.
He wants this one.
“I’ll be lying to you if I [say I] don’t want the award," Black said. "If I do get it, it will be a great thing for me."