11 May 2015

Bolts' Target: League Respect

Norman Black
After a stint in the semi-finals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup, Meralco head coach Norman Black believes the Bolts have made considerable progress but still have a long way to go before getting to the top.

Meralco made it to the Last Four of the Commissioner's Cup, but were swept by an in-form Rain or Shine squad in three games in their best-of-five series. The Bolts dearly missed the services of injured forward Jared Dillinger and import Josh Davis in their match-up.

Yet even down two players, Meralco gave Rain or Shine all it could handle before eventually losing, 98-107.

"There's some improvement in how we played tonight. They really gave the effort despite us missing Josh Davis," Black told PBA.ph.

"We made a lot of progress this year. I have to be positive as far as the performance of my players. And now, it's just looking towards the next conference," he added.

He was hesitant to say that Meralco is a "team to fear," however.

"If you want to gain the respect of anybody, you have to win games. That's the bottom line. Nobody is going to respect you if you're not going to win," he said.

"We're one game out of .500 so maybe they respect us a little bit, but I don't think the top teams fear us," Black added.

In the Philippine Cup – Black's first conference in charge – the Bolts finished sixth place and advanced to the second phase of the quarterfinals, where they lost to eventual finalists Alaska.

In the Commissioner's Cup, they beat NLEX in the best-of-three quarterfinals before eventually falling short against the Elasto Painters.

"The goal right now is to keep on getting better," said Black.

"Hopefully, our two imports in the third conference will give us more firepower, and the draft picks will help us for years to come," he said.

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