Burlington cage tips by Norman Black

FATHER’S Day in the time of COVID-19 pandemic is unique, as trying times usually bring madness and mayhem, stopping the world dead in its track.

But it can also bring miracles and marvels to a humanity that will always continue to hope and pray for the best that is yet to come. Such is the blessing of Burlington Basketball Tips with basketball legend, Norman Black, now reprising the "virtual" clinic with his son Aaron.

For this time of pandemic, Black has recently initiated the online instructional to keep kids busy while on quarantine with its initial 15-minute episode with his son, a former Ateneo Blue Eagle who was drafted late last year by Meralco, where his father coaches in the PBA.

The 23-year old rookie was not even born yet when Burlington Basketball Tips was on the television screens.

With their Quezon City residence as venue, coach Norman and Aaron recorded the video, concentrating on ball handling and dribbling exercises with limited space at their mini-gym at home.

The Black father and son tandem are ready to guide the basketball fans on how to handle the ball in the virtual hard court, in this time of the "new normal".

The popular clinic was launched in 1986, when Burlington Industries Philippines, Inc. signed up Black as its endorser. The concept was for a five-minute basketball basics instructional aired in between PBA games on Sundays which was produced by the league's television partner Vintage Enterprises. 

Believing in the relevance of the project, Burlington, the leading hosiery firm, took up the cudgels as its principal backer.

This clinic did its tapings mostly at the ULTRA (now PhilSports Arena), Aquinas School, RFM Gym and a few Metro Manila educational institutions from time to time. The former Detroit Pistons player taught the fundamentals of shooting, dribbling, rebounding, passing and defense. Black, who won a Grand Slam in 1989 as San Miguel coach, was usually joined by his players and/or the school varsity team for the demonstration portion.

In 1990, Burlington and its ad agency TEAM appealed to Vintage to continue the segment for at least a year more. In a compromise, Vintage provided airtime over the carrying station while TEAM took up the challenge of producing the segment.

TEAM then innovated by holding the basketball series outside of the regular venue. Selected schools, villages, companies and even charitable institutions were given the privilege of hosting the cage clinic on air.  Burlington Basketball Tips went to places as far as Perpetual Help College in Laguna and as near as a barangay in Tondo. Celebrity guests were even added for glitter, among them are actors Cesar Montano and Raul Zaragoza.

In recognition of the original concept in presenting a sports segment, the clinic garnered a special recognition from the prestigious Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) with no less than His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin handing the plaque to Burlington General Manager Ruddy Tan in simple but meaningful ceremonies in the prelate’s official residence in Mandaluyong.