WHILE he is happy with Meralco's season, coach Norman Black said he hopes his team will get a chance to load up with more talent during the offseason as a PBA championship remained elusive for the franchise.
Black commended the players’ effort after their season ended in a Game Four loss to TNT on Friday that denied the Bolts a chance to meet Barangay Ginebra in the finals for the fifth time in the last six PBA Governors' Cup campaigns.
Black said the coming finals between TNT and Barangay Ginebra will be between two of the most talented teams in the league, a level which he hopes his team will be able to reach someday.
“I always try to look at these teams, I try to examine them and I say how many of these guys play for the national team. And you can pretty much figure out which teams are the most talented teams in the league," said Black.
When asked if he wants to add more talent in the team, Black answered in the affirmative.
“It would be nice,” said Black. “And that’s not putting my players down. I love my players. They work hard for me. They come to work everyday and have good attitude.
"But you saw what happened this year with Ginebra. They picked up [Jeremiah] Gray and [Jamie] Malonzo in the middle of the year, which is, that’s amazing. That can help you win a championship, that’s for sure.”
Black hopes he hopes to get a quality player come draft time in September, but the Meralco coach isn't keeping his hopes up as the Bolts will be picking in the middle to the late part of the first round.
The fact that the blue-chip players in the draft will most likely end up with the strong teams doesn’t bode well for Meralco, he added.
“The only problem is in our case, we have one pick. We have a first round [pick] this year. We want to use that pick to get better. But sometimes, it’s a little bit difficult because the strong teams end up with the top picks and end up getting stronger.
“If you want to be successful in the league, we don’t want to come in last place and get the first pick because that wouldn’t be good either. I’m sure we will probably be 8, 9, or 10 this year. You are not going to get the most talented guy coming out of the draft because of that. Most of the time, those picks go to the bottom teams,” said Black.
Black said TNT showed that it has more talent when it came away with a 107-92 win over Meralco to finish the series in Game Four.
“They played really well tonight. Some of the shots they made, there are amazing shots. Mikey Williams played well tonight. The import was a force. When they have everything clicking, they are a tough team. They are very difficult to beat,” said Black.
Needless to say, Black said it was disappointing that the Bolts failed to make it back to the finals.
“When you look to the fact that we just lost, we made it to the semifinals but we couldn’t make it to the finals. It’s disappointing. But when you look the other way around, there are eight teams that have been on vacation for a while and we’ve been playing.
"I told the players, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. We made it to the Final Four which is an accomplishment. But it’s disappointing that we were eliminated tonight,” said Black.