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    Tough-guy Beau Belga admits getting intimidated by Dennis 'The Menace' Espino

    Jul 4, 2020
    PHOTO: Screenshot from CS9 coverage

    BIG Beau Belga had no less than Dennis Espino laying down the red carpet in his PBA entry.

    A tough hit in his nose courtesy of an Espino elbow welcomed the Rain or Shine big man in the league.

    Although he earned a reputation as one of the tough guys in the pro league today, the 33-year-old Belga admitted somehow being intimidated by the 6-foot-6 Espino once early in his career.

    “Hindi ko siya makakalimutan sa buong career ko kasi siya nag-welcome sa akin sa PBA,” related Belga in the Power&Play radio program of former PBA commissioner Noli Eala, where he appeared with another former PBA tough guy Ricky Relosa.

    Belga, one half of the former Extra Rice Inc. he previously formed with JR Quiñahan, remembered he was a rookie player with Purefoods when the incident happened.

    As a freshman back then, the Gubat, Sorsogon native admitted he was trying to impress the Purefoods management while he was matched-up with Espino, the former University of Santo Tomas standout and 1995 no. 1 overall pick by Sta. Lucia.

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    “Dini-depensahan ko siya, hard-nosed defense. Biglang pumoste, nag-face up,” Belga recalled, “Pag-tira niya ng face-up na boarding, binagsakan ako ng siko sa ilong.”

    Although tough as nail, Belga said it was one incident which left an indelible mark on himself.

    Not that he took it personally against the retired two-time champion and Finals MVP.

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    “Very memorable sa akin yun until now,” said Belga with a chuckle. “Si Kuya Dennis ang medyo nailang ako dati.”

    Incidentally, NLEX veteran Asi Taulava also considered Espino as the toughest player he defended in the PBA.

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      Relosa for his part, didn’t have a particular player who gave him his PBA baptism of fire.

      Instead, the former Toyota stalwart had the entire Crispa team which gave him the hard time in his first game as a pro. .

      “Biro mo opening kalaban namin ang Crispa,” said Relosa, 60, who played as a rookie in 1982.

      “Itong mga beterano medyo ginugulangan ako, yung pisikal ba. Hangga’t lahat ng ginagawa nila sa akin ginagawa ko rin sa kanila, dinodoble ko pa yung tira. Hangga’t napipikon na sila sa akin,” said the 6-foot-4 power forward, now based in New Jersey.

      Not soon after, Relosa and Belga were the ones already ‘welcoming’ the newbies in the PBA.

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      PHOTO: Screenshot from CS9 coverage
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