AS the lone alternate in the Gilas Pilipinas lineup, Beau Belga could only sit in frustration as the team’s fourth-quarter meltdown unfolded before him, resulting in a heartbreaking loss to Chinese-Taipei in the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
And very typical of him, the burly big man known for his grit - often bordering on roughness - on defense observed the team was lacking in toughness and intimidation.
“Gigil nga ako. Sumisigaw na ako behind the bench na banggaan na dapat ang labanan,” said the Rain or Shine stalwart when Spin.ph caught up with him during a late Saturday dinner at the Mall of Asia.
Belga believes the opposition’s platoon of shooters led by Lu Cheng-ju, could not have built momentum and gained confidence had the Gilas defenders decided to play them a little bit physical in the end.
Of course, not exactly to the point of hurting them on purpose.
“Konting physical, konting banggaan lang. Yung No. 7 (Lei Tien), tsaka No. 12 (Chih-Chieh Lin) ang pumatay sa atin, e,” said Belga, who was the last man cut by coach Chot Reyes in the 12-man Gilas roster.
Lu, Tien, and Lin combined for 60 of Chinese-Taipei’s 84 points, including 13 of the team’s total of 15 three-pointers.
“Hindi na sana natin pinaporma,” said Belga. “I mean sa PBA nga banggaan ang labanan natin, pero after the game, okay na uli `yung mga players, minsan magkakasama-sama pa nga e.
“Ito after the game, kelan ba natin ulit sila (Chinese-Taipei) makakalaban? Baka after two years na, di ba? So hindi naman siguro makaka-apekto kung nakipag-banggaan tayo sa kanila,” said the former Philippine Christian University stalwart.
Besides, Belga pointed out the crowd will always be at the side of Gilas come hell or high water.
“Yung crowd na lang malaking bagay na yun,” he said of the 19,638 fans who packed the Mall of Asia Arena and rained a chorus of boos every time the Chinese-Taipei team was on the offensive.
Although the qualifying tournament to the World Basketball Championship in Spain has yet to reach its halfway mark, Belga hopes Gilas Pilipinas will finally learn to play with toughness the rest of the way before it is too late.