BEAU Belga isn't sure if he will make it to Gilas Pilipinas' 12-man lineup for the Fiba-Asia championships. But if he doesn't, he is making sure June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar can do the "dirty job" for him.
The wide-bodied banger said he has played a mentor-type role to the two younger frontliners of Gilas, guiding them in practice and, from time to time, teaching them the tricks of the trade.
Specifically, Belga wants Fajardo and Aguilar to be more assertive, advising the two frontliners not to be timid with contact inside the paint.
“Tinuturuan ko na lang din sina June Mar saka si Japeth. Sinasabi ko nga na kailangan lang talaga bumangga, di kailangang mahiya,” said the 6-foot-6 center out of Philippine Christian University.
Belga said he is aware that he is on the bubble as national coach Chot Reyes prunes down his pool to the final 12, being the last to join the team after an assortment of injuries sidelined some of the players.
“After all of the sacrifices saka hirap, still I’m expecting na di ako kasama eh (in the final lineup). Ine-expect ko na ako `yung maka-cut, kasi para sa akin, expect the worse na mangyayari sa sitwasyon,” he said.
Belga, however, found a backer in veteran national player Jimmy Alapag, who stressed the burly big man brings a lot to the national team, from his mere physical presence, admirable work ethic, and outside shooting.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play with Japeth back in Wuhan (China during the 2011 Fiba-Asia), and during our time with Talk ‘N Text. So before this training, I haven’t played with Beau,” said Alapag.
“But I’ve been thoroughly impressed with his work ethics, his basketball IQ, and how well he can move for his size. And of course, his outside shooting. He’s been a great addition to the team,” the former PBA MVP added.
Alapag feels Reyes and his coaching staff will have a hard time selecting the final 12 players since everyone is fully committed to help the country earn a berth into next year’s Fiba-World Championship in Spain.
“Beau’s a great teammate. Having Beau in the team, it makes their (coaching staff) job a lot tougher because now you bring in a guy who is fully committed. And obviously, he wants to make the final 12.
“But we’ll see. I think coach will have a better picture of that one person after the New Zealand trip,” said Alapag.