MANILA, Philippines -- Meralco head coach Norman Black is impressed with what he has seen so far from their rookie, Alvin Pasaol.
The Bolts selected Pasaol with the ninth overall pick in the recent PBA Rookie Draft.
The burly forward brings with him plenty of experience from the FIBA 3x3 circuit, having emerged as the No. 2 player in the country behind Joshua Munzon, who went to TerraFirma with the top overall pick. Pasaol is also a former scoring champion in the UAAP, where he played for the University of the East.
"I've been watching him since he was in college. He was a dominant scorer in college, he was a dominant scorer in the MPBL and all the other leagues that he played in, in the 3x3, Chooks-to-Go," Black told former PBA commissioner Noli Eala in his "Power and Play" show over the weekend.
"So I know what he can do," he added.
Black has yet to see Pasaol take part in a five-on-five practice, as PBA teams were only allowed to hold small group training sessions. However, in-person practices were stopped entirely last month when NCR Plus was placed under enhanced community quarantine.
From what he has seen of Pasaol, however, Black is confident that their rookie can contribute to their team immediately.
"It's hard to explain. You don't see too many guys come along like Alvin Pasaol," he said.
"I mean, natural scorer. I mean, natural confidence. You know, I'm not saying the game is easy for him, but at the same time, he knows that he's a good player," Black added. "He knows that he can score the basketball, and he has confidence that he can do that."
Black noted that there are some concerns about Pasaol, most notably about his weight. The former UE star is around 230 pounds at the moment, the coach said, and they want him to shed some 10 pounds.
Yet his burly form does not mean that Pasaol is slow. In fact, Black said it's the exact opposite.
"When he has the basketball on the fastbreak, he's the fastest guy on the court. So it's hard to explain, it seems to contradict," he said.
Pasaol is also a "physical scorer" who seeks -- and finishes through -- contact. In this regard, Black believes his rookie is comparable to legends like Nelson Asaytono and Noli Locsin.
"You would think guys of that size would not be good in the open court, but Pasaol is very good in the open court, he's a good ball-handler. And if you remember Nelson, whenever he got on the fastbreak, it's like a runaway train. He could get to the basket anytime he wanted," said Black.
As for Pasaol's similarities with "The Tank," Black said both players are effective on the glass.
"He (Locsin) was a very good rebounder. Alvin Pasaol is a very good rebounder, particularly on the offensive end of the floor," he added.
While Pasaol has yet to play a single minute in the PBA, Black won't be surprised if he becomes a scorer on the same level as players like James Yap and Terrence Romeo, and even PBA legends like Allan Caidic and Kenneth Duremdes.
"There have been guys who've come along over the years who can just score the basketball, they're natural scorers," he said. "I would put him, Alvin Pasaol, in that category."
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