AS soon as he saw something wrong with how the team executed on defense in one simulation, Norman Black stepped in in mid-play and ordered the five players to drop for 10 pushups.
That showed how serious the Meralco coach was in teaching a new concept in practice on the eve of Game Three of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against Ginebra on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Black later played down the incident, but showed a bit of disappointment when the white team, composed of his second five of Bryan Faundo, Kelly Nabong, Anjo Caram, Ryan Buenafe, and Baser Amer, couldn’t get it right on defense.
“It’s just me. I asked them to do something and they didn’t do it correctly,” Black said after practice at the Meralco gym. “That’s normally the punishment.”
“Actually, what we’re doing is something completely new,” the champion coach revealed. “Normally, when you teach something for the first time, it never really works out that well, so it’s not that I’m trying to discipline them. It’s just something I do if they mess up.”
“It’s not a big deal,” he insisted.
But instilling a new concept this deep in the playoffs shows how eager the Bolts are in wanting to give Gin Kings new looks on defense in a bid to bounce back from the 79-82 loss in Game Two.
While he didn’t give specifics, Black said they simply need to stop Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, who scattered 32 points in Game Two after scoring just 17 in the series opener.
On the other end, the veteran coach is hoping to free up Bolts import Allen Durham, who was held to 22 points after exploding for 46 in Game One.
“Somehow, someway, we got to try to slow down Brownlee because he was able to get away with a lot of points last game,” Black said. “While at the same time, we got to do a better job spreading the floor so AD has more space on offense.”
And, of course, the Bolts seek to limit the Gin Kings to one possession each time after getting outrebounded by Ginebra, 49-45. One of those rebounds, by sol Mercado, eventually spelled defeat for the Bolts.
“We must do a better job of rebounding because we got hurt on the offensive boards last game,” Black said.
“We got to bring more energy, more hustle, because I thought we got outhustled,” he added. “They seemed to be a bit hungrier than we were, so we have to bring that hunger back.”