ANTIPOLO – There are probably only few cagers who can win in banging bodies with Beau Belga. And the Rain or Shine big man met one of them on Sunday night.
The Elasto Painters big man admitted he has found his match in TNT KaTropa import Joshua Smith, who wreaked havoc in the paint and anchored his team in a 105-102 squeaker that allowed the Texters to finish the eliminations on a strong note.
The burly 6-foot-5 Belga looked considerably lighter when he matched up against the 6-foot-9, 350-pound Smith.
“Sobrang bigat,” Belga admitted. “Kala ko nung una typical big man na mala June Mar (Fajardo), mabigat pero nung binangga ko, sabi ko, ‘Putek grabe yung bigat.’ Nung una, sabi ko baka sakali kaya ko pa, eh nung natapat sabi ko, ‘Di kaya, kailangan ng katulong.'”
“Plus alam niya kung paano gamitin ang katawan niya,” he added of the NBA D-League veteran.
What the E-Painters lacked in heft against Smith, they made up for with their speed as they outran TNT lineups that featured the TNT import.
“Kagandahan lang di siya makakasabay sa bilis,” Belga, who thrived in an off-the-bench role against TNT and finished with 13 points, seven boards, and three assists, said.
Smith played just 23 minutes as he was plagued by fouls, but it was enough time to register 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, 12 boards, and three assists.
“Limited minutes siya maglaro. Ang kaibahan lang pag sinub siya ng locals ng TNT, ganun pa rin, para ka ring may import kay (Mo) Tautuaa at Kelly (Williams),” Belga said. “Yung ang kailangan namin harapin sakaling makaharap namin sila.”
For now, the E-Painters are waiting where they will end up in the final placings for the postseason. As it stands, they are in sixth spot after finishing the eliminations with a 5-6 win-loss card.
“Sinabi sa amin na whatever situation na mapuntahan namin, 'yun ang ginusto namin,” Belga said. “We just need to play.”