Norman Black trying his best to keep spirits up as losses pile up for Meralco
The losses are piling up for Norman Black and his Bolts. Dante Peralta

MERALCO coach Norman Black is forced to make do with a lineup that has been performing way below expectations in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Asked if he’s still satisfied with his lineup or is pondering changes, the champion coach didn’t give a direct answer, but believes there’s no one from the free-agent market that can make an immediate impact.

“Even if I’m not satisfied, there’s nothing I can do about it,” Black said after the Bolts’ 86-83 loss to Mahindra on Saturday. “The teams are set. And I don’t think any player who’s not playing in the PBA right now is going to come in and make a difference for my team.”

“So I just have to try to get the best that I can out of the guys that I have.”

Black rued the Bolts’ failure to come out victorious in a tight situation where they squandered a late lead against the Enforcers.

“Despite the fact that the last few games have been relatively close and we played hard, we still end up on the wrong end of the score, so my attitude – and I hope the attitude of the players – is we continue to work hard,” said the American mentor, whose team absorbed a seventh setback in eight games. “There’s no substitute for hard work and hopefully we’ll snap out of it.”

The Bolts, though, are well aware they are on the brink of missing the playoffs.

“I’m dealing with reality,” Black said. “Our chances of going into the quarterfinals got a bit darker. I’m dealing with it day by day. As a coach, you got to stay as even keel  as you can, try to stay balanced as far as what you think and your personality, try to not get too down or too up when you’re winning, and just stay steady.”

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