MAC Belo expressed his full commitment to the national team that’s preparing for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup next month in Iran.
The amateur star has confirmed he will forego his extra playing year for Far Eastern University and instead is focusing on the all-amateur Gilas team that he is expected to lead in the country’s first tournament under the new Fiba calendar.
“Yung goal ko naman talaga before ako mapunta sa FEU is mabigyan sila ng championship at siguro nabigay ko na,” Belo said after playing in the Blitz Game in the PBA All-Star weekend opener on Friday night.
“Malaking pasasalamat ko sa FEU na talagang hinahayaan nila ako kung ano ang decision ko, nirerespeto nila,” he added.
Now, the 6-foot-4 combo forward is shifting his focus solely on the national team that is expected to be among the smallest teams in the Iran tournament.
“Syempre, kasi alam natin na yung lineup namin na maliliit kami, so kailangan talaga namin i-double yung effort,” said Belo, who has gone to two national team practices at the Meralco gym, hoping to make the most of their month-long buildup.
“Sa ngayon, na mayroon lang kaming konting time na preparation, so kailangan namin mag-double time.”
Belo, however, is still weighing whether to commit to the national team full time in the next few years and to forego joining the PBA draft for now.
“Pinag-iisipan. Not decided pa naman, pero pinagaaralan ko lahat,” the 23-year-old cager said, although confirming ongoing negotiations on contract talks with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
“May mga sinasabi naman, pero wala pa naman (official),” he said.