BEAU Belga just needs to step on the gas a little bit more with Rain or Shine’s playoffs hopes in the PBA Philippine Cup in the balance.
The burly center teamed up with another big man in Jewel Ponferrada to complete a 95-80 win over defending champion San Miguel and clinch a quarterfinals berth in the season-opening meet.
As injuries downed three of the Elasto Painters’ key players, Belga said it’s imperative for the rest of the team to fill the void left behind by two-time MVP James Yap, Chris Tiu, and later on, Raymund Almazan.
“We need somebody to step up in the absence of Chris and James, kasi mga injuries naman hindi namin kontrolado, nangyayari na lang ng bigla,” said Belga, whose 19-point output led the way for Rain or Shine’s sixth win in 10 outings.
“Kumbaga ang mga injuries talaga, traydor. Traydor sa buhay ng players yun.”
Yap is out with a pulled calf muscle, Tiu missed his second straight game due to a strained hamstring, while Almazan hurt his hand and played just three minutes against the Beermen before being recalled to the bench. He never returned.
But there was Belga and Ponferrada to take charge for Rain or Shine as the two stretch big men clinched the all-important win for the team with their sizzling shooting from the outside.
Ponferrada connected five from three-point range, while Belga hit three from the same area.
“Kailangan lang talaga magpursige kasi kulang kami,” said the former Philippine Christian University standout.
A loss by Rain or Shine would have been costly as it may end up playing Blackwater in a playoff for the eighth and last quarterfinals berth.
But following the win, the Elasto Painters have a very good chance of even finishing at No. 4 should they hurdle their final assignment in Barangay Ginebra on Friday.
“As of now, nabunutan ng isang tinik,” admitted Belga. “Let’s see on Friday kung yung dalawang tinik na yun matatanggal talaga.”