By JEREMIAH SEVILLA
SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Aaron Black continues to make a name for himself in the PBA.
In his first playoff game on Friday, Black drained 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as Meralco zapped defending champion San Miguel, 78-71, to erase a twice-to-win disadvantage and force a do-or-die for a Philippine Cup semifinal spot on Sunday.
After the Beermen cut the Bolts’ 16-point lead down to four, 58-62, halfway through the final frame, the second-generation cager hit a layup and a triple to spark a seven-point surge for a 69-58 lead.
The 24-year-old rookie guard out of Ateneo once again came to the rescue when he fired a dagger trey from the left corner to put Meralco ahead for good, 76-67, with 1:57 remaining.
His father and coach Norman lauded his son’s confidence in taking big shots.
“He was taking a lot of shots tonight,” said the multi-titled coach in jest. “He made some, he missed some but he made some crucial ones down the stretch when they were coming back. We really needed that lift.”
“He came off the bench I think in the last five or six minutes of the game and had a couple of shots for us to really separate and help us win this basketball game. Like I tell you guys, he’s a rookie and he still has a lot of room for improvement but he doesn’t lack confidence. Sometimes too much actually,” he added.
The younger Black credited his dad and the coaching staff for his clutch plays.
“They prepared us so well. We came in with a game plan and we executed it,” said Aaron, who also tallied three rebounds and an assist.
But despite seeing his son make big three-pointers, Norman refused to directly answer who’s the better shooter from beyond the arc, drawing laughs from reporters.
“Do you realize that when I came to the Philippines there was no three-point shot? It might have something to do with it,” said the elder Black, whose decorated PBA career started with the Tefilin Polyesters in 1980.