BEAU Belga has the green light to join Gilas Pilipinas in Lithuania.
The wide-bodied Rain or Shine big man was issued a Lithuanian visa Monday afternoon, paving the way for his trip to the Baltic state to join the rest of the national basketball team in their two-week training camp.
Belga said he will leave at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and expects to be in Lithuania by Thursday, just in time for the national team’s first tune-up match against Klapeidos Neptunas.
“Baka hindi pa ako makasali sa first scrimmage namin. Baka yung second game na,” said Belga referring to Gilas' game against another Lithuanian club team, Birstono JAZZ Diremta, on Saturday (Manila time).
With his visa secured, the late-blooming 6-5 forward out of Philippine Christian University is happy to be given the chance to pursue his longtime dream of making it to the national team.
“Dati talaga pangarap na pangarap ko maglaro sa national team. Ngayon isang hakbang na lang ako roon. Kaya sisikapin kong makuha yun,” said Belga. “Lahat ng sakripisyo gagawin ko.”
Among the things Belga wants to show in Lithuania is his capacity to defend against much taller opponents.
“Yun ang gusto kong makita doon. Gusto kong masukat kung hanggang saan ang kaya ko katapat ang matatangkad at mas mabibilis na kalaban,” he said.
“Iba yung laro ng Lithuania sa Fiba-Asia (tournament), pero kung kakayanin ko 'yung mga taga Lithuania, hindi naman siguro ako madedehado sa mga Asyano,” added Belga.
The much-improved big man has vowed to bring to Gilas the passion and tenacity instilled in him by Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
“Yun ang ipapakita run, yung attitude na ayaw magpatalo. Kumbaga ituturing kong last game lahat ng lalaruin ko, para buhos talaga,” said Guiao's resident enforcer.
At the same time, Belga showed his soft side, saying he feels sad to leave behind his wife Queenie and one-year-old son Zach even for just a brief period.
“Ngayon lang ako mahihiwalay sa kanila ng ganito katagal - two weeks. Dati kasi four days lang kapag nagpupunta kami sa Dubai,” he said.
“Ganun talaga. Sakrispiyo. Feeling ko OFW ako ngayon. Ang hirap pala. Ambigat sa loob iwan ang pamilya.”