|The Ateneo gallery celebrates after the Blue Eagles defeated the UST Growling Tigers in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 75 Finals to win their fifth straight UAAP men's basketball championship. Photo by Mark Cristino, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Former Ateneo head coach Norman Black said he will miss the atmosphere of college basketball the most as he closes the book on his remarkable UAAP coaching career.
Black led the Ateneo Blue Eagles to five straight championships, the most in the Final Four era. His last title came at the expense of the UST Growling Tigers in the Season 75 Finals, exorcising the ghosts of his only UAAP Finals defeat in the 2006 season.
When asked about what he will miss most of the college game, Black did not hesitate in saying that it was “the atmosphere” of the games.
"There's nothing like it. What we witnessed today, there's nothing like it," Black said, referring to the 20,000 strong crowd who attended Game 2 of the Season 75 Finals.
It was a sea of blue and yellow in the Araneta Coliseum last Thursday, with both crowds cheering well before the start of the game.
"The atmosphere is unbelievable. It's nothing like I've experienced since maybe the Crispa-Toyota days," Black added.
The normally stoic coach then smiled before saying: "I coach Ateneo, but I'm in love with the 'Go USTe, Go USTe.' I have it ringing in my head all the time."
Black won’t hear chants of “Go USTe” or “One Big Fight” when he moves on to the next chapter of his career: coaching the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters of the Philippine Basketball Association.
He jumped right into the fray last Friday, coaching the Texters to a 108-104 victory over a tough Globalport squad.
Black did not want to consider the Texters' chances of winning a "grand slam" in the PBA, pointing out that they are "just at the beginning of the PBA season."
"If we get to the semi-finals, and we're lucky enough to make it to the championship round, then we can start thinking about it," he added.
Black and the Texters will be in action against Air21 on October 17 at the Mall of Asia Arena.