FOR someone who’s been in the PBA for too long and has embraced the Filipino culture, Meralco coach Norman Black could only hope today’s breed of PBA players will sustain the gains achieved by their predecessors.
Black said Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league is what it is today owing to the love and handiwork of people who simply love the sport.
And it’s something the multi-titled coach wants players nowadays would try to emulate especially with the million-peso contract that they are earning.
“I would like to think and hope that players today will understand the importance of the players and coaches who have come before them that paved the way for their jobs today here in the PBA,” said Black as he took a trip down memory lane after watching the documentary film, ‘PBA: A Nation’s Passion’ Tuesday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila.
“I played for coach Baby Dalupan and I played for coach Tommy Manotoc, so I know how it is to be under as a player,” he added.
The 56-year-old American coach, who began his career in the league as import with Tefilin in 1981, mentioned that players should be inspired to take the PBA to the next level considering the labor and hardship offered by legendary players such as Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Atoy Co, Philip Cesar, Bogs Adornado, among others.
“If you’re a player like myself or a coach, Mon Fernandez and Sonny Jaworski, who was pretty much here from the very beginning, you don’t just wanna see the league survive, but you would like to see the league thrive,” explained the one-time Grand Slam coach.
“You want to see the players take care of the league, not just in the basketball court but also you want to see the players have social responsibility, to go out and teach their kids to play basketball and maybe, one day, they’ll play in the PBA,” he added.
Before earning 11 championships as a coach, Black also played as import for Magnolia, San Miguel Beer, and briefly with Pop Cola.