HE may already be setting his sights on the PBA draft, but Meralco coach Norman Black is not looking past the Governors’ Cup where the Bolts seek to sustain the gains they made in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.
After the Bolts suffered a three-game sweep to Rain or Shine in their midseason tournament semifinal series that ended with a 107-98 loss on Tuesday night, Black hopes to keep improving in his third conference with the team.
Following a quarterfinal berth in the Philippine Cup, the Bolts reached the semifinals for only the third time in franchise history this conference.
So is a deeper playoff run in order in the season-ending conference?
“I’m always realistic,” Black said. “I inherited a team that finished next to last the conference before I took over, so the whole idea is to see improvement every conference.”
“I think we’ve shown that already,” the multi-titled American mentor added. “Obviously, we’re not one of the top teams in the league. But we’ve gone from at least the bottom to the middle of the pack.
“The goal right now is to keep getting better.”
And Black believes it hinges on their two imports whether they will at least match their semifinal finish this conference.
“A lot of it will depend on the performance of our imports, because that was one of the main reasons why we did well this conference,” said Black, who felt the hardworking Josh Davis led them to where they were in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Black expects Andre Emmett to live up to expectations as the high-scoring 6-foot-4 wingman is coming off a successful season in the NBA D-League where he was named All-Star Game MVP.
Black also hopes to secure the services of Mehdi Kamrani, the unflappable Iranian playmaker who has agreed to terms with the Bolts, but has yet to confirm owing to his pregnant wife.
“But if he does (come over), we all know he’s a monster,” Black said of Kamrani, who tormented Gilas in the final of the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship. “He’s a very good player.”
“Hopefully our two imports in the third conference will give us a little bit more firepower and our draft picks will help us also (next season),” added Black, whose team, as it stands, owns the No. 3 and 7 picks in this year’s draft.