Aaron Black of the Quezon City Capitals - WEMSAP is one of a handful of Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League players who also has a side hoops gig.
When he isn't playing for the Capitals, the guard is also a vital cog for AMA Online Education in the PBA D-League.
“It’s a good experience playing with two teams,” says the son of legendary player and coach Norman Black. “It teaches me how to manage my time and play hard no matter how fatigued I may be. Yes, it may be tiring but at the same time I get to compete in two very competitive leagues which will help me in my career.”
Black's fitness and dedication were evident a few weeks ago when he faced a grueling stretch of two games in three days. On July 30 the Capitals lost a close one to Muntinlupa Angelis Resort, 106-100 in the Muntinlupa Sports Center. This being a home game for the Cagers, it was the third match-up of the day and finished close to midnight. Aaron had to go home to QC, grab a few hours of precious sleep, then attend AMA practice the next day at 9:00 am.
The day after that, August 2, Black suited up for AMA and showed almost no signs of fatigue in scoring a triple-double as his team won 110-92 over iWalk.
Black is a serial triple-doubler, having achieved that feat in the MPBL also last June 26 when he produced 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the Biñan City Krah Heroes.
“That game I was happy not just because of the triple double but because five other players also scored in double digits and almost everyone who came in contributed well to our team win,” he adds.
For Black, dealing with the rigors of playing for two clubs isn't so difficult. “I just did my best to keep my body healthy through ice and maintenance and a lot of rest. Also keeping myself hydrated was a big thing,” said the former Ateneo standout.
Black is lucky that the two teams have similar philosophies, with just some differences in the plays being run. Aaron relishes the idea of playing in the two top stepping stones to the pros. “They’re both very competitive and physical leagues. I think they are both very good and helpful for the development of players in the Philippines. Both leagues also give jobs to players not only in Manila but around the country which is really good.”
Fortunately Black will only have this arrangement until September, when the D-League season is set to conclude.
“Right now I’m just trying to finish my games in the D-League to be eligible for the (PBA) draft and at the same time play for my MPBL team. No plans yet on if I will enter the draft or not. I’m just taking it day by day.”
As if his two jobs weren't enough hassle, Black sustained an injury in a loss last week at San Juan. His face collided with a teammate's and his braces gashed the inside of his mouth. The feisty guard showed his toughness by playing on despite the injury. He had a procedure on his lip soon afterwards. “You will definitely see me wearing a mouthpiece next game,” asserts Black.
The lifelong Quezon City native feels right at home in the WEMSAP squad. “I think QC is a well-run team. We are like a family. There are a lot of fun moments with teammates, coaches and management but we know when to get serious and get down to business.”
A big help for Black is having Tonino “Zags” Gonzaga on the team. Not only is he another former Blue Eagle, but Gonzaga grew up with Black since they lived on the same street.
On Tuesday the Black-led QC Capitals continued their fine form to beat Imus 103-95. Black had a quietly efficient day with six points and two assists as WEMSAP went to 5-4.
Aaron sees this two-team phase in his career as part of the growing process, and also as a way to unlock the power of his mind. “Of course I get tired and sore from everything, but I really enjoy playing basketball and it’s something that’s easy to get up for in the morning, tired or not. When you love something, it’s not really a problem to get your mind focused and ready for it. I do the usual recovery tricks such as icing, a massage and stretching, but I think it really starts with the mind when it comes to these things. Once you train your mind, your body will follow.”
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.