Posted by: sportsandbeans | September 27, 2006

The Norman Black Effect


by Milo

5’8″ Macky Escalona may have made the perfect pass in between the outstretched arms of 6’5″ Chester Taylor, Chris Tiu and Jai Reyes may have turned into the perfect decoys as they ran around the wings, Doug Kramer may have made the perfect catch and undergoal stab to win the game for the Blue Eagles, but all of it, the victory and the play, will not be possible if it was not for Ateneo’s coach, Norman Black.

A normal coach would’ve buckled under pressure, used a more practical method by utilizing a taller player to inbound the ball, and settled for the easier set up but harder to make outside jumper similar to that of the Gec Chia play in 2002. However, as seen and heard in the video above, Norman Black, after years of coaching and competing in basketball tournaments and championships, pulled out from his bag of experience and designed only one risky play, and one play alone.

Given the monicker “Mr. 100% Percent” during his playing days, Norman Black averaged 51 points in his first team in the PBA, Tefilin, followed by an average of 43 markers in San Miguel Beer, 38 points in Great Taste Coffee, and 43.5 points for Magnolia Quench Plus. He also had a career-high of 76 points in one game.

After his playing days, he became head coach of San Miguel and led them to nine championships, making him one of the most winning coaches in the Philippine Basketball Association.

As a rookie coach last year for the Blue Eagles, he set the foundation as he planned in his blueprint for the team. They managed to get in the final four last year with this new project despite losing eventually to rival La Salle in the semifinals. Now, in his second year coaching the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Coach Norman Black, this experience melded well with the starless Ateneo team. So well that the Ateneo Blue Eagles became a team-oriented squad, and of course, the play of the season, dubbed the “Hail Mary play”, executed to perfection. Never been used by the Ateneo team in practices or in an actual game, this play changed the Blue Eagles’s destiny within one second in season 69 of the UAAP finals. He kept his head cool under pressure, took chances like putting a short inbounder instead of the usual tall one, and never gave up on the game.

Norman Black remarked in an interview that it was a play done ten years ago when he coached San Miguel Beer, “the Robocop” Alvin Teng being the recipient of the pass underneath the goal. It may be a sentimental play for him perhaps, and this steal of a victory further added the value to this one.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Atenean or a Tomasino. You’ve got to admit, this was pure genius at work. This is a play that falls slightly short of a miracle, a play that will go down as among the best in UAAP history. As bit_bang_boom of “aptly” paraphrased from Larry Bird, “We saw God today, and he came as Norman Black.”



  1. Your article was very enlightening. My name is Ben Henry and I went to school with Norman Black , we grew up in the same community. We were good friends and I have not seen or heard from him in years . Could you please send me an email adress or give mine to him . It would be greatly appreciated. Thank You .

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