NORMAN Black is honored to reach the same level as Baby Dalupan as far as number of wins as a coach in the PBA is concerned.
After becoming only the fourth coach to notch 600 wins in the league, the Meralco coach tied Dalupan with 601 wins for third spot in the all-time list after leading the Bolts to a 104-99 victory over Mahindra in their playoff for the fourth seed in the Governors’ Cup postseason on Wednesday night.
“That’s a big accomplishment,” Black said after the game. “Most of us coaching now believe that he is the all-time greatest coach in history of Philippine basketball, so it’s a big accomplishment for me.
"It also means I’ve been coaching a long time,” the American mentor added with a smile as he achieved the feat in his 21st year coaching in the pros.
While hesitant to look back on his accolades, Black was proud of his latest milestone as it brought him up in the same breath as Dalupan, who reached his winning total five years less than Black did.
“Coaching is so interesting because in my case, I never really live in the past,” Black, who played under Dalupan at Great Taste in 1983, insisted. “I never really think about what I’ve done. Naturally, I just look forward to the next game. I look forward to help whatever team I’m coaching win more games.”
“But every now and then, you get a chance to sit back and think about what you’ve done in the past and how many games you’ve won. And just to be mentioned in the same name as Baby is really a big deal,” added Black, an 11-time champion coach, who’s still four titles behind Dalupan and seven behind Tim Cone.
Next on the all-time wins list is Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who has amassed 637 victories in two decades as a coach in Asia’s first professional league.
But Black doubts he can at least match Guiao’s record if the latter remains active.
“Coach Yeng is still coaching, so it might be hard to catch him,” Black admitted. “I was gone for ten years and I won a lot of games in the amateurs, so there’s a strong possibility I’ll never catch coach Yeng as long as we’re both coaching at the same time.”
It would’ve been possible had Black, 58, not been away from the league for a decade from 2002 where he chose to coach in the amateur ranks with Ateneo.
“I had a lot of success in the amateur ranks, so maybe if I could’ve had that same success in the PBA, maybe I would be up there with coach Tim Cone,” Black said referring to the Ginebra coach, who is No. 1 on the list with 833 wins so far.
“I’m just interested in trying to win more games for Meralco and not really on the individual accomplishments,” he added.