BEAU Belga denied that favoritism had something to do with coach Yeng Guiao's decision to once again include him in Team Pilipinas' 12-man lineup for the all-important Fiba World Cup qualifier against Iran on Monday.
The beefy bruiser, who has played for Guiao during the latter's long tenure at Rain or Shine, said it is not favoritism but his familiarity with the coach's system that led him his second straight call-up in the fifth window of the qualifiers.
“Walang pabori-paborito sa kanya,” said Belga as he made his way out of the Mall of Asia Arena shortly after practice on the eve of the Iran game.
“The only advantage I have is I really know his system. Kaya niya siguro ako sinasama dito is for me to let the other big men know kung ano yung gusto niya,” added the Rain or Shine center, who has been playing for Guiao for more than eight years now.
“Walang superstar sa kanya. He always reminds us na ang star sa team niya ay yung sistema niya.”
In explaining his selection process, Guiao said that he is putting premium on quickness for the Iran game without sacrificing size. Belga fit the bill, he added.
“Beau is big, but he’s quick for his size, that’s why he’s still there,” said Guiao.
Besides, Guiao said Belga is a perfect match-up for one key Iran player who the team refers to as ‘Brutus.’
“Meron silang player na of the same mold, but actually bigger than Beau. So magandang match-up siya doon kay Brutus,” stressed the national coach.
Belga welcomed the opportunity to play in the Iran game, saying he wants to atone for his terrible play in the 92-88 loss to Kazakhstan on Friday.
“I’m frustrated last game kasi feeling ko wala akong na-contribute, although yung effort ko nandoon,” said the Rain or Shine center, who turned 32 on the day the team lost to the Kazakhs.
And given another chance by Guiao, Belga vows to make up for it.
“Malaki ang tiwala sa akin ni coach Yeng, kaya dapat masuklian yun. Ayokong ma-frustrate siya sa akin na pinagbigyan niya ako pero akong ginawa,” he said.