MANILA, Philippines–Meralco is one of the last two unbeaten teams before the PBA Governors’ Cup went on a holiday break, but that hardly makes coach Norman Black satisfied.
In fact, if he had it his way, he would have had his wards play during the holidays.
“Gusto ko lang, laro na lang, if that’s possible,” the decorated mentor said with a smile in a rare moment he spoke in Filipino.
Black has his reasons, foremost among them is the potential to lose any sort of momentum they have after a 2-0 start as the break can easily get his players out of shape.
Chris Newsome and import Tony Bishop Jr. share Black’s view.
“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means [against TNT],” Newsome told the Inquirer after an 83-80 win over the reigning PH Cup champion. “We got to take what we can learn and move on to the next one and get better.
“We got to keep it moving and focus on the next [game] next year,” he added.
Bishop, who arrived in Manila and immediately found a Meralco lot a tightly knit bunch, wants to continue being a part of what he feels is a special group of guys.
“When I came in, I could tell how these guys are really together,” he said in a separate Inquirer interview.
“I’m fitting right in and I have to make sure we continue to play together and just keep improving,” he added.
Meralco beat hapless Blackwater in their first game here, 98-77, before that win over the Tropang Giga.
So for Black and the Bolts, the break is something they could have done without.
It will be exactly two weeks before the Bolts see action again, as they play dangerous Alaska on Jan. 5.
“I’m ready to get my guys on the court already so we can get some rhythm and hopefully get some wins. There are some teams that have already played four games,” said Black. “So we’re really behind as far as games are concerned.”
“We’re grateful for the two wins, but we have a lot of road ahead of us, and we just have to keep going,” added Bishop.
The Bolts will get their chance, as they play four games in the next seven days from Jan. 5. And by that time, they’ll know how the Yuletide season has affected them.
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