BEAU Belga and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are not about to back down on an expected physical game the Petron Boosters are expected to bring to Game three of their PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The heavyweight Rain or Shine center has been known to be at the forefront of the Elasto Painters’ brute defense that obviously got the better of Petron, especially sophomore big man June Mar Fajardo who lost his mild-mannered ways after snapping in a 103-94 loss in Wednesday night’s Game Two.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, who leads the Best Player of the Conference derby, was called for an offensive foul after elbowing Rain or Shine’s lanky rookie Raymond Almazan in the second period.
He was at it again in the fourth quarter when an irritated Fajardo engaged Rain or Shine undersized power forward Larry Rodriguez in a shoving match. Both players were eventually slapped with a technical.
Fajardo later admitted losing his cool and focus, although teammate Arwind Santos had said previously the Boosters needed to be just as physical as the Elasto Painters if they are to win the best-of-seven series which they currently trail at 0-2.
Belga doesn’t see any problem with that.
“Kung gusto nila (Boosters) ng physical (play) walang problema. Hindi naman puwedeng sila lang ang physical tapos kami hindi. So talagang kung gusto nila ng pisikalan okay lang sa amin,” said Belga, who stood his ground against Fajardo in the first two games of the series.
The former Philippine Christian University stalwart said the playoffs requires mental toughness more than just a nice game plan on both offense and defense.
“Eh kung masisira laro mo sa physicality ng game, eh mas gagawin pa namin 'yun, kasi yun ang magiging advantage namin sa iyo eh,” explained the 27-year-old big man, who forms Rain or Shine’s 'Extra Rice Inc.' frontline along with JR Quinahan.
Belga said he was initially surprised to see Fajardo lose his cool in Game Two, but given the high stakes in the series, he said it is only natural that the physicality of the game will increase as well.
“Nagulat ako nung una,” Belga said, referring to Fajardo’s shoving match with the 6-foot-4 Rodriguez. “Eh ganun talaga eh, napipikon din ang player eh.
"So same thing with June Mar, siguro napuno na siya, parang momentum kasi nasa amin. Eh di mo mapagbabawalan na di sumabog ang tao eh. Ok lang naman yun eh.”