HOW deep you go into the playoffs is a gauge of success.
It’s also a measure of how much cash bonuses you’re bringing home to your family.
And the deeper Rain or Shine gets in its PBA Commissioner’s Cup title defense, the happier Beau Belga will be.
After nine straight semifinal appearances, the last one where they went on to rule the previous midseason tournament, the Elasto Painters endured two early exits.
They barely missed the playoffs in the 2016 Governors’ Cup, finishing ninth and losing to Phoenix in a playoff for the eighth seed, before catching the last bus to the playoffs in the recently concluded Philippine Cup where they played just one game in quarterfinals, bowing to eventual champion San Miguel Beer.
Belga simply wants the E-Painters to go deeper this time.
“Ayaw ko lang ma-out ng maaga,” the nine-year veteran said in chat with SPIN.ph after practice on Monday. “Two conferences na magkasunod na early exit and ayaw ko lang mangyari ulit. Kahit man lang mag-semis, masaya na ako.”
Asked if he feels the E-Painters are underachieving at this point, Belga shook his head.
“Hindi naman, pero nasanay ka na nasa semis eh,” the Gubat, Sorsogon pride said. “And practical kami; pamilyado kaming tao, kailangan namin yung bonus.”
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Under the league’s Uniform Players Contract, if players' salaries are capped at P420,000 a month and the team salary cap is at P50 million, won-game bonuses can reach up to P6,000 in the eliminations, P8,000 from the quarterfinals, and P10,000 for the finals.
“And syempre, gusto ko pa madagdagan yung championship na mayroon ako,” the two-time champion continued. “Yun ang motivations ko.”
If and when the E-Painters get to the semifinals, then it’s anybody game, Belga said.
“Pag dating ng semis, we’ll see,” Belga said. “Ganun naman ang semis eh – wala ng may advantage dyan. Ang importante dyan kung sino magaling mag-adjust, kung sino ang mas malaki ang puso.”
“Pressure na i-defend yung crown, but kasama sa laro yun eh,” he added. “Pag walang pressure yung laro, boring, and itong conference na ‘to, talagang pinaghandaan namin, especially yung coaching staff, marami silang pinapasok na panibagong kumbaga mga bala namin.”