10 July 2014

Norman Black is New Bolts Coach

Norman Black
It was not the same team that he handled before he joined the Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) pool of coaches, but, technically, it is safe to say, "Welcome back, Norman Black!"

Before Meralco acquired their franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the Sta. Lucia Realtors was for some time, was mentored by Black. He even gave them their first title in the league way back in 2001 when he steered the team against the heavily favoured San Miguel squad in the best-of-seven series of the Governor's Cup.

The Realtors was bannered by import Damian Owens, but it was Black’s stepson, Chris Tan, who ended the tightly contested series in game 6 when he hit a 24-foot three-pointer to give the team the lead for good.

It was the team’s first of two titles after joining the league in 1993 and before it was bought by Meralco on 10 August 2010.

Like its predecessor, the Bolts has also not tasted a shot at the title for a long time now, four (4) frustrating years, under the watch of coach Ryan Gregorio. However, that may soon change and who else can make that into a reality than coach Black.

A source close to the MVP bloc has revealed to Spin.ph that Black is set to take control of the Bolts' campaign next season, replacing Gregorio. The latter was rumoured to be groomed for a much higher managerial position once he steps down as the Bolts’ head coach.

Jong Uichico, meanwhile, was reported to be the next replacement of Black at the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters stable. A winner of eight league championships, Uichico is set to take on the job of reviving the fortunes of a once dominant team that failed to win a league title this season.

Uichico was also believed to be instrumental in bringing his former players, Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso, back from possible retirement and play some quality minutes for both the Tropang Texters and the Bolts.

On the other hand, Gregorio, a three-time PBA Coach of the Year awardee, is expected to step in a new direction by focusing on his corporate career at Meralco. He is currently the assistant vice president of Meralco and head of its sports youth advocacy, but is expected to be promoted to a higher management position soon.

One thing is not yet clear though. There is still no final decision on what will be the status of Boyet Fernandez, who led NLEX to six championships in the D-League and is being eyed to hold the same position in the pro ranks.

Fernandez is also a former Sta. Lucia Realtors coach and was instrumental in giving the franchise its second and final PBA championship crown before Meralco acquired its franchise. Led by the young Kelly Williams and prolific energizer Ryan Reyes, the Realtors shocked PBA aficionados by winning the championship series in seven games against the number one seed Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants to win the 2007–08 PBA Philippine Cup. Purefoods was coached then by Gregorio.

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