FOLLOWING his splendid back-to-back performances with the PBA All-Star selection, burly Rain or Shine forward Beau Belga is keeping his fingers crossed the coaching staff of Gilas Pilipinas has taken notice.
“Sana napanood nila `yung games namin,” said the wide-bodied, 225-lb. big man.
The former Philippine Christian University star once suited up for the national team during the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand, where he played alongside Rain or Shine teammates Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, and Jervy Cruz.
And now he hopes it's not too late in the day for a call-up from the Gilas team that has seen two players in Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger dropped from its original 17-man pool due to health issues.
"Pangarap ko talaga mag national team ulit eh," said the Painters banger. “Kahit libre ako sa national team, okay ako. Walang problema sa akin … basta may pagkain na buffet.”
Turning serious, he added: “Gusto ba nila ako? Nag-aantay lang din naman ako ng mga tawag-tawag eh. Kabisado ko naman ang takbuhan ng international game. Hindi naman siguro ako madedehado."
The underrated center has impressed in games against Gilas and the visiting Shanghai Sharks, holding his own against the Chinese big men in the shaded lane and giving them problems on defense with his ability to hit the open three-pointer.
Given another shot at donning the national colors, Belga said he will be happy to accept any role given him.
“Kahit hindi ako patirahin. Depensa, rebound, at hustle lang ako, masaya na ko nun,” he said.
Rain or Shine team co-owner Raymund Yu has long insisted that Belga can be a big asset to the national team and on Thursday reiterated his offer to release him to Chot Reyes' pool.
“Noon ko pa naman sinasabi sa inyo, di ba? Talagang pang national team material si Beau,” said Yu. “Maraming roles na pwedeng gawin si Beau. Magandang pang-bantay sa malalaki ng ibang bansa.
"Sobrang talino ni Belga lumaro. Versatile pa,” Yu added.
For his part, Gilas team manager Butch Antonio admitted being impressed with the performance of both Belga and All-Star teammate Arwind Santos in the match against the Yao Ming-owned Sharks.
“Yes we’re impressed. Pero like what I’ve mentioned before, it’s not automatic na porke may players na natanggal, we have to replace them right away,” said Antonio, who emphasized the decision rests on Reyes.