If you’re wondering why Aaron Black has suddenly risen up to be Ateneo’s top guy, it’s because he’s taken cues from a certain MVP who used to don the Blue and White.
The versatile wingman exploded for 23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal to spearhead the Blue Eagles’ 73-69 conquest of UST in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Black was all over the court in Ateneo’s triumph, draining baskets from inside and out, pestering the Growling Tigers on defense and being a vocal leader as the Eagles began a new era with an impressive win.
Prodded post-game how he has taken the mantle of leadership for the Katipunan squad, Black said it was about taking the cue from 2-time UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena.
“It was more of learning from the MVP, from watching him everyday in practice,” he said. “They were able to bring me some things that I was able to bring this season.”
The son of the legendary Norman Black shared how Ravena, who is now in the States chasing his NBA dream, pulled him and Adrian Wong aside after their Season 78 campaign and told them to be the next leaders of the team.
“Before we parted ways last season, he told me a few things for this year. (He talked to) me and Adrian Wong cause he knew that we were going to become the leaders of this team, along with Thirdy (Ravena),” he added.
“Number one is being a leader,” Black explained. “We have a lot of rookies this year, a lot of people that still have a lot of years to play. So basically, to lead the team on and off the court. When it comes to hard work in practice, things like that.”
Black said he took Ravena’s instructions as a challenge and is using it to help the Eagles cope with the loss of their superstar guard and veterans like Von Pessumal and Fonso Gotladera.
“In Ateneo, you always have expectations so we just wanna manage that as a team and come out here always team-oriented,” he said. “We don’t wanna have just one guy. Just always be a leader and always have a team effort.”