MERALCO coach Norman Black believes his team gained a measure of respect from the rest of the PBA even after their resurgence in the Commissioner’s Cup came to an end at the expense of Alaska on Wednesday night.
The champion coach stuck to the positives after the Bolts lost to the Aces, 76-70, in the deciding game of their best-of-five semifinal series, still a huge turnaround after they finished at the bottom in the Philippine Cup by losing all but one of their 11 games.
“Overall, it was a big improvement from last conference,” Black said. “The Meralco team at least is more respected now because of being competitive, trying to get better, continue to try to grow as a team.”
“I think we’ve done better than anybody expected, including myself,” he admitted. “But at the same time, it’s disappointing to lose. We had our chances today.”
After all the Bolts rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth period and gained a one-point lead momentarily before folding, falling short of a first-ever finals appearance in their six-year history.
That’s why Black refused to label their conference as an overachievement.
“I really don’t like that word too much because when we keep talking about overachieving it means you didn’t achieve anything,” Black said. “Let’s just say the expectations probably were a lot less for our team this conference and we probably did better than what most people thought we could do.”
“But it’s not a fluke,” he was quick to add. “And we’ll try to get better for the next conference.”