MERALCO coach Norman Black played down that fact that another former player haunted him, this time being Kiefer Ravena on Friday night in the Bolts’ 87-85 loss to NLEX in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Player and coach have won two UAAP championships together at Ateneo – the last two of their dominant five-peat run, with Black turning to Ravena at crunch time to lead them to victories.
Ravena continued to show that he can carry his team to a win – but it came at the expense of Black this time.
“Whenever you lose, it’s not a good feeling, whether it’s Kiefer or anybody else making any shot to help you lose the game,” Black said.
“If he can step up and make that type of shot, then he deserves whatever credit you give him, but I don’t have any special feelings towards it to be honest with you,” he added.
Another feeling that was absent was surprise as Black knows Ravena has already made a reputation as a crunch-time player.
“He’s always been a clutch player and he’s one of the more intelligent players we have in the PBA,” the American mentor said. “He knows when the moment is there to make the big plays. He’s got such a bright future in basketball here in the PBA.”
That makes Ravena another former player who has delivered against Black after Kelly Nabong and Jonathan Grey of GlobalPort and Ed Daquiaog of Rain or Shine.
“It seems like every former player I go up against these days plays well against me,” Black said. “It seems to be a pattern, but it also shows I coached a lot of players. That’s basically what it means.”
Black doesn’t care if a former player turns into a villain against him. What he cares about is the Bolts staying alive in the playoff race after losing for the sixth time in eight games.
“I always say this to you guys so I’ll say it again: when you lose a game, you got two choices: you can sulk or you can go back to the drawing board and keep working,” Black said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and keep working and continue to improve and become more competitive so we can win games.”