BEAU Belga said he is motivated more than ever to pursue his national team dream after becoming the final cut in the Gilas Pilipinas team to next month's Fiba-Asia championships in Manila.
Just a few minutes after being informed that he was out of his official 12-man lineup, the burly 6-5 banger told Spin.ph he harbors no ill feelings towards national coach Chot Reyes or any of the staff.
The late-blooming Rain or Shine big man said he will use the experience gained in his almost two months with the national team to further improve his game as well as his attutide.
“Mas magsisikap ako ngayon para pag may opportunity na kasunod na katulad nito, pipilitin ko na mapasama na sa final lineup,” he said in an overseas call to Spin.ph from New Zealand where Gilas is holding a training camp.
[Listen to the full interview here: Belga on being cut from Gilas lineup]
The former Philippine Christian University Dolphin said he remains hopeful that before his PBA career ends, he will have the chance to don the national tri-colors in future Fiba-sanctioned tournaments.
“Syempre naman, naniniwala ako. Hindi pa dito nagtatapos (ang pangarap ko para mag national team),” he added.
The Sorsogon pride recounted how Reyes broke the news to him.
“Kinausap niya ako. Kaming dalawa lang. Sabi nga niya parang ako yung ika-cut. Pero 'wag daw akong mawalan ng pagasa kasi puwede pa naman akong isingit hanggang August 1,” Belga said.
“Sabi ko naman kay coach, ‘Okay lang po yun … wala namang samaan ng loob. Saka nakahanda rin naman po ako.”
The Painters' chief enforcer even praised Reyes' final lineup, saying it is formidable as he stood as a witness on how his teammates persevere for flag and country.
“Malakas ang team natin ngayon. Talagang lalaban itong mga ito,” Belga said. “Saka hindi porket naalis ako hihina na ito.”
Belga also expressed his gratitude to PBA fans and even experts who called for his inclusion in the team.
“Salamat po sa naging pagtitiwala ninyo. Maraming, maraming salamat. Sana lagi niyo pa rin po akong suportahan,” he said.
At posting time, Belga said his non-inclusion was not yet revealed to his teammates until Reyes posted his decision on Twitter.
“Lahat naman kami dito (New Zealand) naka internet. Kaya malamang nabasa na nila yun sa Twitter,” Belga said before he joined the team's practice.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine team co-owner Raymund Yu expressed sadness over Belga's non-inclusion.
“I feel sorry po Beau. Sayang lang because I know deep in my heart that Beau can help the national team,” said Yu. “Sayang yung mga intangibles na pwede niya sanang ibigay sa national team.”
He continued: “But we thank Gilas for giving him a chance. Although he did not make the team, if you look at the bright side madami ring natutunan si Beau with them.”