NORMAN Black has been in the PBA long enough not to be lured into an exchange of words with the ever outspoken Yeng Guiao in the heat of a game with a playoff atmosphere.
Not even if the remarks are tainted with racist undertones.
Black downplayed choice words Guiao directed at him during a lull that followed a near-commotion among players of Rain or Shine and Meralco on Sunday in the PBA Governors Cup game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Grand Slam coach said he has yet to see the tape of what transpired during the break, but had recollection of the little things Guiao was saying from his end.
“The sad part is that (he’s) calling the frying pan black, (because) we both have the same color,” said Black, who tried to force a smile and make light of the situation.
“Of course, he’s just knocking about it. Just play physical and may the best team win.”
The slight confrontation began when both benches emptied late in the second quarter of the match when Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu and Meralco power forward Kelly Nabong both crashed in front of the Bolts’ bench as they tried to beat each other for the loose ball.
It didn’t help any that Jared Dillinger suddenly rushed from the end of the Meralco bench and gave a fallen Tiu a hard shove from behind, setting off a commotion between players of both teams.
Guiao was not about to let the incident pass. The Rain or Shine coach stormed to the vicinity of the Meralco bench shouting, and later had a slight argument with Black and his coaching staff.
Black said the physicality of the game didn’t bother the Bolts at all despite his team being outscored by the Elasto Painters, 50-33, in the second half, to clinch the win.
The Bolts dominated the opening half and held on for a 56-46 lead at the break even after the Tiu-Nabong episode.
“This is the PBA. Physicality is part of the game,” said the American coach. “I don’t think the physicality of the game should be a factor (here in the PBA). The players should be used to that already.”
Black stressed too, he’s not going to take things personally against Guiao, a champion coach like him, as he believes what was said is just psywar between two teams badly wanting to win.
“It’s just part of the game. You guys have been covering the league long enough to know that’s Yeng Guiao. I just want to be perfectly clear on that,” said the Meralco coach.
“I’ve been coaching as long as he does so I don’t want to hear it basically,” Black added.
And proof he’s no sore loser, Black proceeded to midcourt and shook hands with Guiao shortly after the Bolts lost the match, 96-89.
“I’m a professional. Once the game is over, it’s over. I don’t take it off the court,” he said.
The more important and urgent thing for Black right now is for the Bolts (5-5) to take care of business against KIA on Wednesday in their final elimination round assignment as a win would give the team better position in the knockout quarterfinals.
By virtue of a higher quotient, the Bolts are assured of a place in the playoffs.
“I think we do have the best quotient out of the teams still remaining. I’m hoping we can convince the players not to think about it, but instead go out and get the win so we can have some momentum going to the playoffs,” said Black.