There are several multi-titled coaches in the PBA, such as Leo Austria, Norman Black, Tim Cone, Baby Dalupan, Yeng Guiao, Chot Reyes and Jong Uichico. In this series, we identify the all-time starting five of these seven coaches, choosing from all the players each one has ever coached.
With 11 PBA titles as a head coach under his belt, there is no doubting the championship pedigree of Norman Black. After winning championships in four different decades, it is safe to say that Black has a knack for assembling teams that could go all the way.
Black is the third winningest coach in the league's history, trailing only Tim Cone (22) and the late Baby Dalupan (15) in terms of PBA championships. "That Old Black Magic" did wonders for three franchises, namely the San Miguel Beermen in the '80s and '90s, the Sta. Lucia Realtors at the turn of the century, and Talk 'N Text in 2013 after a fruitful stint coaching at the collegiate level. Black's winning touch puts him in the company of Cone, Dalupan, Jong Uichico, Chot Reyes, Yeng Guiao, and Tommy Monotoc as coaches who have won with three different franchises.
Black was close to becoming the first ever coach to win a championship with four different franchises, but his Meralco squad has fallen short in all of their Governors' Cup Finals matchups with Barangay Ginebra.
Black has been blessed to be able to lead some of the brightest names in Philippine basketball. From Ramon Fernandez, Ato Agustin, Allan Caidic, Ricardo Brown, and Samboy Lim from his early days with San Miguel, to the twin tower combination of Marlou Aquino and Dennis Espino with the Realtors, to the electrifying Jayson Castro, Jimmy Alapag, and Ranidel De Ocampo of the Talk 'N Text team in 2013.
It is difficult to select just a handful of players from Black's numerous championship-winning squads, but these are some of the greats who could form his all-time starting five.
GUARD: 2013 Jayson Castro
Jayson Castro played one championship season with Norman Black, but beats out illustrious Hector Calma, Ricky Brown, and Ato Agustin at as a starting guard. In Castro's championship-winning campaign with Black in the 2013 Philippine Cup, the "Blur" took home the Best Player of the Conference award. It was that same year that Castro was also named the Best Point Guard in Asia after his exploits in the FIBA Asia Championship. He was included in the Mythical First Team for that season.
Overall, Castro has compiled five Best Player of the Conference plums and has been named to the Mythical First Team five times in his career.
GUARD: 1989 Samboy Lim
Samboy Lim was a key piece for Norman Black in his days with the San Miguel Beermen. Black would rave about the ability of "The Skywalker" to run and finish on the break in the late '80s and early '90s. Lim's daredevil-like incursions to the basket led to constant hammering, but despite suffering numerous injuries throughout his career, nothing changed his style of play.
Lim was a rare player who suited up for one franchise throughout his time in the PBA and his humble demeanor garnered him the first ever PBA Sportsmanship Award, an accolade that would eventually be named after the "The Skywalker" himself.
GUARD: 1994 Allan Caidic
"The Triggerman" Allan Caidic is easily one of the most potent scorers the PBA has ever seen. Under Black, Caidic collected two rings with the San Miguel Beermen in the early '90s. Caidic was a dead-eye shooter that commanded everyone's attention and gave Black a potent threat from beyond the arc. Caidic's sharpshooting exploits continued all the way to the international stage as well. He was a crucial component of the national team setup from the late '80s to '90s. During Black's tenure, the 1990 MVP only cracked the Mythical second team in '93 and '94, but Caidic turned it up for flag and country in the 1994 Asian Games. In 1994, the Philippine basketball team, formed from the core of the Beermen, was headed by Black. The Philippines finished fourth, but Caidic was part of the tournament's Mythical Selection.
Caidic retired as the league's leader in 3-point shots made with 1,242, a record which stood for 17 years until Jimmy Alapag surpassed it.
BIG: 2013 Ranidel de Ocampo
Ranidel de Ocampo was arguably one of the biggest reasons why Norman Black won a championship in the 2013 Philippine Cup. A modern player for today's game, RDO was the prototypical model for a stretch four. De Ocampo took home the Finals MVP honors during the 2013 title run, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds in the sweep of Rain or Shine. De Ocampo would cap off the year with a spot on the Mythical First Team.
De Ocampo went on to win six championships and another Finals MVP award before announcing his retirement on April 13. Black has even said that RDO is the "best stretch 4 we've ever seen."
BIG: 1989 Ramon Fernandez
Ramon Fernandez was in the latter part of his career when he played under Norman Black in 1989. Still, "El Presidente" built on his legacy by helping Black lead the Beermen to a Grand Slam. In the 1989 campaign, Fernandez ceded the MVP award to rookie Benjie Paras, but was still dominant enough to earn a spot on the Mythical First team. A do-it-all big man, Fernandez's impact on the game is still felt today. He retired in 1994 as the PBA all-time leader in career scoring, rebounding, blocks, free throws made, and career minutes.
In terms of accolades, Don Ramon is a four-time MVP and captured 19 PBA championships to go with 13 Mythical First Team selections.
If we were to choose a sixth man, it would be... 1989 Ricky Brown
The "Quick Brown Fox" makes an appearance on this list as the sixth man for Black's all-time team. Ricardo Brown is the first Filipino-American to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, and was part of Black's 1989 Grand Slam squad. Brown didn't have the individual accolades in what was a loaded Beermen squad, but still played a vital part in their campaign throughout their 1989 season. Such is the regard for Brown's ability, Black considers him as the most productive player he has ever coached.
Brown's legacy was cemented by the league with his inclusion to the 25 Greatest Players list.