RAIN or Shine big man Beau Belga blames his measles for the pressure he now feels on his shoulders.
While the pride of Gubat, Sorsogon was on sickbay, back-up big man and rookie Raymund Almazan stepped up in the Elasto Painters’ PBA Philippine Cup encounter against San Mig Mixers on December 29.
The former Letran star and reigning NCAA MVP played his best game as a pro during the runaway 101-77 win over San Mig, tallying 17 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
And from his bed at home, Belga saw everything.
“Oo nakita ko. Natutuwa nga ako kasi ang ganda ng nilaro niya,” said Belga, aware of how Almazan has long been waiting for his breakout game in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
[To read more, see Guiao's amusing masahista quote motivates Almazan to bulk up]
Asked if he was threatened, Belga replied in the negative.
“Hindi ako threatened, ako pa nga nag-pu-push sa kanya na lumaro ng maayos. Lagi ko nga siyang binibigyan ng tip na kung pangit laro mo, ibabangko ka ni coach,” he said.
But the 6-foot-5 wide bodied cager admitted he is now more motivated to perform better every game.
“Hindi ako na-threaten, pero siyempre may pressure ako na magpakita ng mas maganda,” Belga said.
“Motivated akong magpakita ng maganda ngayon. Kasi normal yun eh, pag may nagpakita sa team na maganda at kapuwesto mo, kailangan mas pag-igihan mo,” he added.
“Magaling at maganda `yung laro ni Raymond. Kaya kailangan galingan ko rin, mas galingan ko pa,” added the former Philippine Christian University (PCU) stalwart.
Belga bared it has been coach Yeng Guiao's practice to give ample playing minutes to top performing players, something which the outspoken forward believes will be the challenge for him now as he fights for playing minutes with the newbie from Orion, Bataan.
“Sa amin naman kung sino maganda ang laro, siya ang gagamitin. Sa akin, kung nakakatulong si Raymund, ma-lessen `yung minutes ko OK na rin, basta nagpapanalo kami. Pero siyempre, kailangang i-push ko pa sarili ko,” he said.
Since being downed by measles last Christmas Day, Belga has been inactive and only returned to practice on Thursday morning.
“Kanina lang ako ulit nakalaro. Sobrang namiss ko ang bola,” he said with a laugh.
And there lies the new challenge,
“Wala akong hangin. Wala ako sa game shape, kaya kailangan kong maghabol. Mabilis akong hingalin ngayon,” Belga disclosed.
“Pero sanay naman ako lumaro ng hindi game shape. Bastat nakakatakbo ako, lalaro ako.”