JUST hours after landing in Manila and taking a brief sleep, heavyweight big man Beau Belga reported for practice at Rain or Shine on Saturday morning and intends to join the team when the Elasto Painters play an out-of-town tune up game in Tarlac City.
The 6-foot-6 Belga, a late-addition in the Gilas Pilipinas national pool before being cut from the team’s final roster, arrived with the rest of the squad on Saturday midnight from their 10-day New Zealand trip.
“Natulog lang ako ng konti tapos dumiretso na ako sa practice sa Rain or Shine para sa (tune up) game namin bukas (Sunday),” Belga told Spin.ph on Saturday.
Belga said he’s excited to join the team after nearly two months of training with the Gilas squad, which is in its final phase of preparation before going to action in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships starting Aug. 1.
Although he was cut from the national team’s final line up last week, Belga was able to play for Gilas when naturalized player Marcus Douthit sat out during the team’s games against the NBL All-Stars and the Super City Rangers.
“Medyo mahirap ang mga kalaban dun kasi malaki sila saka mabibilis. Siyempre, kahit naman sino, basta coming off the bench, mahirap maglaro, pero masarap ang pakiramdam kasi may natututunan din ako sa ibang mga teammates ko,” explained the Rain or Shine bruising big man.
Belga said with 11 days to go before the Fiba-Asia cage showpiece, he will still join the Gilas’ afternoon practice to show support for the national squad, which is bidding to finish in the top three slots.
The top three Asian teams will earn berths to next year’s Fiba World championships in Spain.
“Ako naman, kahit di na ako kasama sa final line up, willing pa ring tumulong sa Gilas. Basta sa umaga, nasa ensayo ako ng mother team ko, tapos since kadalasan naman hapon ang practice ng Gilas, didiretso na lang ako dun,” he said.