BEAU Belga considers his inclusion in the Gilas Pilipinas pool as a `second chance’ to prove his worth to become part of the national team that will be competing in two major international tournaments later this year.
The burly Rain or Shine big man was the last person cut by coach Chot Reyes in the team that finished runner-up behind champion Iran during last year’s FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship here.
And now given with another shot at making the Gilas roster, Belga is out to prove he’s worthy of belonging to the team bound for the FIBA-World Cup and Asian Games.
“Second chance for me ito na maging part ng Gilas final 12, although I still expect the unexpected,,” Belga told Spin.ph, who is coming off career-high numbers of 10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 24 minutes in the recent Philippine Cup where Rain or Shine finished runner-up.
The statement of the veteran center out of Philippine Christian University came amidst the formal withdrawal of Greg Slaughter and Marcio Lassiter in the 17-man Gilas pool.
Slaughter and Lassiter both cited personal reasons for declining the invitation to join the team, although the two stressed the Final 12 that made up the team during the FIBA-Asia tilt last year deserved to go to Spain for the world basketball championship.
Like Belga, Slaughter and Lassiter were among the new faces Reyes added to the Gilas pool along with Paul Lee and Jared Dillinger.
But Belga considers being part of the pool as a big challenge of engaging the regular Gilas members in a healthy competition to prove their worth to the team.
“Competition naman for each other ito eh. You give yourself a chance to prove yourself (to be in the Gilas team), so ipakita mo ano kaya mo, and I think it’s gonna be a good one,” added the rugged big man of Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Belga, who is coming off career-high numbers of 10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 24 minutes of play in the recent Philippine Cup, is aware he only has a slim chance of making it to Gilas’ final roster as he has to compete for spot in the national team’s crowded frontline that includes regulars Marc Pingris, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo.
But being with the team and practicing with the nationals in their once-a-week training every Monday could be for his benefit to become a better player in the long run.
“You learn a lot sa Gilas eh, at the same time, I credit the (Gilas) assistant coaches) na nagtitiyaga sa akin na nagpapa-shooting drills,” he said.
“May natututunan din naman ako sa mga tinuturo ng coaching staff sa akin.”