MERALCO coach Norman Black believes San Miguel Beer’s long layoff was more of a boon than a bane for the Beermen as shown in SMB’s 99-92 win over the Bolts in their first game in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Following their Philippine Cup championship run, SMB coach Leo Austria disclosed his key players returned to practice just a week before their first game, while the rest of the team went back to the grind a week earlier.
Austria insisted his players showed rust early on, but Black saw a rejuvenated Beermen side as they turned the tables in the second half to deal the Bolts their first loss.
“They’re the best team in the league,” Black said. “They just won the all-Filipino title, so I can’t really be surprised with the way they played. They’re off for how long? I think the commissioner gave them a lot of time off to rest and they showed it tonight – they were very fresh.”
Asked if the Bolts received a reality check with the loss to the Beermen, Black instead put his focus on their next game against Alaska.
“I’m just trying to win games,” Black began. “I’m a basketball coach in the PBA. We lost tonight and we’ll try to beat Alaska on Saturday. There are no guarantees that something’s going to happen in a certain way when you show up at the games."
“Tonight, we lost to a better team,” he added. “At the same time, we still have to stay focused on our next game, and not get too down on this one. But reality check? I have no clue what you’re talking about, to be honest with you. That’s the reality of it: you win some, you lose some.”
Black also pointed out that they’ve already surpassed their win total last conference.
“We’re coming off of a three-and-eight all-Filipino conference, and we’re four-and-one right now, so we’ll just continue to concentrate on the positives and try to win the next game,” Black said.