BEAU Belga was glad to see Rain or Shine deliver a strong finishing kick that knocked out Blackwater, 103-80, on Friday night, allowing the Elasto Painters to finally advance to the playoffs of the PBA Philippine Cup.
The E-Painters finally clicked on both ends and managed to sustain their two-way play as they put an end to a four-game losing streak.
And Belga was relieved to see his team regain their shooting touch (47-percent shooting) and defense (limiting the Elite to 34% shooting) after he admitted after their loss to Alaska last Wednesday he would go as far as “sell his soul to the devil” for them to do so.
“Malay mo, sapian kami ng demonyo,” he said then.
The E-Painters enforcer, personally, enjoyed a resurgence as he tallied 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including two treys, seven boards, one block, and one assist in 21 minutes off the bench.
“Anghel ang sumapi sa amin,” Belga said after the win that allowed them to set up a quarterfinal meeting against twice-to-beat San Miguel Beer. “Sana sa Sunday, may angel ulit na sumapi.”
“(Pero) ‘di naman swertihan yun,” he was quick to add. “Ikaw gagawa ng sarili mong kapalaran. And today we executed and played defense, and we ran. Naglaro naman kami nung Wednesday so di mo masasabing fatigue kasi nakatakbo naman kami.”
The weary E-Painters, however, are set to play their fourth game in eight days on Sunday when they aim to drag the Beermen to sudden death on Tuesday.
But Belga is not complaining.
“Okay lang. Sabi ko nga, ito yung choice namin, ito yung ginusto namin,” Belga said. “Wala namang ibang option kundi lumaban. Sabi nga ni coach Caloy, ‘di magiging reason yung fatigue kasi playoffs na ito eh so kailangan lang i-survive.”
And Belga is extra motivated to beat the Beermen, who almost lost to the E-Painters in their regular-season matchup, only for Belga to commit a late turnover that allowed SMB to force overtime and win by six points.
“We know we can beat them and na-prove na namin yun, nagkaroon lang ng lapses,” Belga said. “Ako, I take it personally na challenge for me, kasi ako yung nag-cause nung talo namin. So we need to survive this one.”