WHEN one basketball team starts winning so much, Norman Black knows only too well that it will reach a point when the whole world will turn against you.
“I’ve been around long enough to know how much Filipinos love the underdogs,” Black told Spin.ph, two days before Ateneo guns for another UAAP basketball title that could give him and the rest of the Blue Eagles a championship ring for each of their fingers in one hand.
All that success comes at a price, he admitted.
"I know we're not the most popular team in the league, or in the whole country for that matter, right now. When you start winning most of the time, people don't want to see you win anymore. I know some people are simply sick and tired of seeing us win," Black said.
"Ginebra is perhaps the only team in this country that can win five straight championships and not be hated."
He laughed after that last assertion, but insisted it was true. The multi-titled coach was candid enough to admit that except for the pro league's most popular ballclub, any other dominant team will come to a point where people, except for the most rabid supporters, will be rooting against you.
He understands that it has been no different in the ongoing UAAP Finals against University of Santo Tomas, whose Tigers have embraced the underdogs' tag in the lead-up to the title series.
"I understand that and it doesn't bother me. It is what it is," Black said.
Black said he considers himself fortunate to have been around a special group of players that has been able to sustain one of the most dominant reigns seen in the college league, to the point where it now stands on the threshold of earning a place in the record books.
A fifth successive championship would give the Eagles the longest reign in the league since Baby Dalupan's fabled University of the East teams won a record seven in a row in the sixties and seventies.
"I was already around when UST won those four straight championships in the nineties, and we saw how La Salle won all those titles. Sometimes, it happens that you put together a special group of players and they start winning. Then you happen to add a few more players and they keep winning," said Black.
"That has been the case for us, and we're just riding the wave and trying to make the most of it."