NORMAN Black can’t help but be reminded 'The Tank' each time he sees Bolts rookie Alvin Pasaol.
The Meralco coach noted how the 25-year-old Pasaol has the same built, height, and style of play as former Ginebra San Miguel stalwart Noli Locsin.
Black followed the career of the University of the East star in the UAAP, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), and even in 3x3 tournaments, and the similarities between him and the original ‘The Tank’ were too obvious not to notice.
“I would compare Alvin to Noli Locsin, who is very athletic, too,” said the 63-year-old Black.
“The fact that he was a physical scorer, he could take a lot of contact and still score inside the paint. He hit people, double pump and still make the shot. He plays like that,” was how Black describes the resemblance the rookie had with the now 49-year-old Locsin, who was the No. 1 overall pick of Tondena 65 (now Barangay Ginebra) during the 1994 rookie draft.
The burly 6-foot-3 Locsin played six seasons for the Ginebra franchise where he was part of the last championship the team won in the Robert Jaworski era (1997 Commissioner’s Cup).
He later had stints with Pop Cola, Tanduay, Red Bull, Talk ‘N Text, Sta. Lucia, and finally Alaska where he ended his career in 2005.
Locsin, a product of De La Salle from Bacolod City, played for 11 seasons in the PBA and averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 413 games. He won two championships (the other one with Red Bull in 2002), was a five-time All-Star, and twice made it to the Mythical Second Team during his stint with Ginebra.
Like Locsin, Black pointed out Pasaol is also a good rebounder despite being undersized at his position.
“He is a very good rebounder,” added the veteran mentor. “Alvin Pasaol is a very good rebounder especially on the offensive end of the floor.”
Black made the comparison in the program Power & Play where host and former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala said the No. 9 pick also had a resemblance in terms of play with another power forward in Nelson ‘The Bull’ Asaytono as what basketball fans had been telling on social media.
Probably in a way, according to Black, who coached the 6-foot-4 Asaytono, a seven-time champion, with Pop Cola in the late 90s.
“He’s (Asaytono) probably more athletic. Nelson was probably the most athletic guy in the league for a while, and he can outjump everybody. I don’t think Pasaol has that type of hop, that athletic ability,” Black stressed.
“But the ability to bully people and still score, like I said a physical scorer, that would be the comparison I would be looking at,” added the Meralco coach. “In fact both these guys could take contact, take hits, and still finish the plays and still score the basketball. That’s one thing Nelson was very good at and Alvin was very good at also.”
Don’t’ be deceived by their size either, according to Black, as both are likewise quick for their size.
“And they’re very good in the open court. You would think guys of that size would not be good at the open court. But Pasaol is very good in the open court, he’s a good ball handler. And if you remember Nelson, whenever he got on the fast break, he’s just like a runaway train. He could get to the basket anytime he would want it.”
With such comparisons, Pasaol definitely has high expectations to live up to once the PBA 46th season kicks off.