MANILA, Philippines -- Meralco veterans believe Aaron Black to be a solid contributor for the Bolts, after seeing what he was capable of in the PBA D-League and the MPBL.
Black, the son of Meralco coach Norman Black, was taken in the second round of the 2019 PBA Rookie Draft with the 18th overall pick.
His selection came after solid stints with AMA Online Education in the PBA D-League and with Quezon City and Zamboanga in the MPBL. Before joining the draft, Black also played for Mighty Sports in the William Jones Cup.
"Feel ko, fit na fit siya sa Meralco," point guard Baser Amer said during a recent appearance on "2OT." "Malaking point guard, tapos magaling din dumepensa."
Black has yet to practice with the Bolts, but Amer observed his performances in the MPBL and was impressed with what he saw from the former Ateneo de Manila University guard.
"Talagang interesting 'yung laro niya," Amer said of the lefty guard. "Magaling siya gumamit ng pick and roll. 'Pag libre siya, may shooting naman, tapos 'pag sa depensa, magaling din dumepensa."
Nico Salva, another Meralco veteran, noted that Black showed off his versatile skill set during his stints in the MPBL and the D-League -- something he was not able to do with the Blue Eagles.
Black helped Ateneo win the UAAP championships in Seasons 80 and 81, but opted to skip his final playing year and instead prepared for his professional career.
"I've always wondered why he didn't get enough opportunities sa Ateneo," Salva said. "Pero 'yun nga, pagdating niya sa D-League at sa MPBL, napakita niya nagti-triple-double siya. Napakita niya 'yung skill niya."
In his final season with the Blue Eagles, Black averaged just 7.6 minutes per game, contributing only 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest.
According to his father, Aaron had been hampered by an injury in his final season, which affected his performance.
But the multi-titled mentor supported his son's decision to forego his final season, and was glad to see that Aaron shone in both the PBA D-League and the MPBL. Indeed, it was Aaron's performances for AMA that convinced the elder Black that he could make it in the PBA.
"I think he averaged a triple-double in the (D-League). I think that's what really convinced me that he could move on to the next level. If I had based it on what he did in Ateneo in his senior year, then I would have never told him to go into the draft this year, because he did not play very much," the elder Black said during an interview back in May.
Like his players, Black expects his son to be a contributor for Meralco. The coach is counting on Aaron to showcase the same versatility that he did in the D-League, as well as inject energy into the team whenever he comes to the game.
"He's a push-push guy. Aaron is better when he has the ball in his hands and he can push the ball up and down the court," Black said. "He's not gonna be as good in the slow down game, so hopefully he'll be able to help us in that area, because we have not been able to run very much in the last few years."
"We're more of a halfcourt team, a slowdown team, and I would like us to turn into more of a running team," he added.
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