PBA: Coach Norman says San Miguel still the favorite
ABS-CBN Sports on May 09, 2018 10:47 PM
Meralco tripped San Miguel and Christian Standhardinger, but the former has no doubt that the latter will only get up and keep marching forward
Meralco turned out the lights on what was supposed to be a welcome party for Christian Standhardinger in San Miguel.
The Bolts had a rude welcome prepared for the Beermen’s first game in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup and the Filipino-German’s league debut.
They did nothing but execute it to perfection, dispatching of the defending champions, 93-85. “It’s always a big win if you beat San Miguel,” a satisfied head coach Norman Black told reporters post-game on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
Of course, Black was the first to acknowledge that a lot had to go right for them to do what they just did. “We were hoping to catch them early and catch them rusty because once they get their rhythm and they start finding out their rotations, they’re going to be a very difficult team to beat,” he said.
Indeed, it was evident that Meralco was the better team – for tonight, at least – as they outworked San Miguel for majority of the matchup.
Even with what could be considered an upset win, though, the multi-titled mentor was the first to admit that the fully-loaded Beermen remain the team to beat in the tournament. As he put it, “They’ll still be the favorites even though they lost tonight.”
He then continued, “They were already the best team in the league and now, they’ve gotten even stronger.”
Without a doubt, there is nowhere but up for Standhardinger and the core of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, and Arwind Santos have long proven their worth.
The good news for the Bolts is that they could only build on their big-time win – especially as their schedule doesn’t get any easier. “Beating San Miguel is a challenge that’s so, so big so for us to accomplish it, this is a big win for us,” Black said.
And the even better news is that returning reinforcement Arinze Onuaku is just getting started. “You can see the difference of having a center like Arinze on our team because he helps us control the middle. Even though he didn’t score a lot of points tonight, he did a very good job of getting his teammates involved at both ends,” the head coach said.