Posted by: sportsandbeans | October 9, 2007

UAAP Swing- Black and Blue.

by Migs

In a recent article in the sports section of the October 9 edition of the Manila Bulletin, writer Waylon Galvez reported on a supposed alumni-led initiative to replace Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Norman Black following yet another UAAP season which ended with the Ateneans staying on the outside looking in. For die-hard Blue Eagle supporters, the fact that arch rival La Salle is currently atop the UAAP mountain only serves to douse vinegar onto an open wound.

The CBA, NBA (he played 3 games for the Detroit Pistons in the 1980-1981 season) and PBA veteran, on paper, seems to be on the hot seat. In my view, though, Black’s job is safe, at least for now. The Green and White being the champion aside, I think Norman’s done a more than commendable job of steering the Eagles towards the side of the fence where the grass does indeed grow…err…greener, or, in this case, “bluer”.

I feel that all this talk about Norman Black being a monumental disappointment as a UAAP coach, and all this talk about Black being on the way out in favor of RP team coach Chot Reyes (who is consequently related to current Blue Eagle Jai Reyes, and former Blue Eagles Eric and Jun Reyes), is quite unfounded, in that, it has come in zest. The bitter taste of having come so close to the finals is still very much fresh in the mouths of those from Loyola Heights, and I don’t think anyone in Blue and White can ever quite forget what happened against UST in 2006. In time, though, these wounds should heal, and in time, Norman should get at least one more crack at winning a UAAP title (he has 1 year left on his contract). Although Zion Laterre and Ford Arao are leaving the Eagles after this season, Coach Black will still have Chris Tiu in tow, along with prospects like Nonoy Baclao, Raymond “Bacon” Austria, and, if indeed the rumors are true, high school stalwarts Ronjay Buenafe (from San Beda) and Carlo Lastimosa (from a provincial branch of Ateneo; yes, he’s related to former pro-baller Jojo “Jolas” Lastimosa). Next year’s lineup should give Coach Norman enough to, at the very least, contend.

In basketball’s “real world”, contending is half bad. Actually, “contending”, in itself, is quite an achievement. The world should not get restless if the Eagles don’t win a title every year, or even every other year. These things take time to pan out. If Norman can’t bring a title to Loyola Heights after next year, then it might be acceptable to begin discussing changes up top. For now though, support is what he and the rest of the squad needs, not idle gossip.

To say that Coach Black’s been an utter disappointment would be an exaggeration. If you were Coach Bogs Adornado of Adamson, for instance, or Coach Joe Lipa, formerly of the UP Fighting Maroons, then, you’d have something to complain about.

Black guided the San Miguel Beermen of the PBA to a grand slam in the late 1980’s. That alone should take some sort of precedence on his part, beyond the mere fact that Ateneo hired him to be its players’ mentor on the hardwood.

With all due respect to Chot Reyes, or to anyone who thinks that he (she) can duplicate, or eclipse the job Norman Black has done with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, I think that that person, or any other people within Ateneo who are adamant about changes being made, ought to be careful about what they wish for. It’s been a while, after all, since the woebegone days of Ryan Pamintuan, Rainier and Brandon Sison, and John Verayo in the late 90’s which saw the Eagles become perennial doormats in the UAAP.

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Just tweak.

Abrupt change can, at times, turn a bright sky, bleak.




  1. I know I’m reading this years late. Just wanted to point out that Chot is related to Jai and Jun Reyes, but not Eric Reyes. Eric is not related to Jun. Thanks.

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