FOR Norman Black, there could be no better way to finish his stint with Ateneo - a fifth successive UAAP championship, delivered at the expense of the team that handed him his most painful loss in eight years with the Eagles.
When the Eagles take on University of Sto. Tomas at the start of their best-of-three championship series on Saturday, Black will get a chance to atone for a 2-1 loss to the heavy underdogs Tigers in the 2006 finals that gave the American coach a rude reception in the collegiate league.
Black, however, knows vengeance won't come easy against the Tigers.
“It’s going to be a competitive series,” said Black, moments after a 66-63 win over La Salle sealed the Eagles' sixth finals appearance in eight years under the American coach. "UST is a very well-rounded team with their guards, small forwards and bigs with Karim Abdul. It’s going to be a tough series."
Not only did UST deny the Eagles a championship in 2006, the Tigers also gave the four-time champions the most trouble this season.
UST dealt the Eagles their first loss of the season by coming back from 17 points down to pull off a 71-70 victory. Ateneo did get back at the Tigers, but its second-round win was far from convinving, 68-66.
"Both of our matches this season were decided by one or two points, so that shows you how close we are," said Black.
Black now hopes the momentum and confidence they gained in the Final Four win over La Salle can be carried over into the title series against the Tigers, who similarly needed just one game to dispatch National University in their own semifinal match-up.
“This game (against La Salle) helped us a lot. We were challenged and put up to the test. This will help us a lot for UST,” said Black.