IN the absence of Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, big man Beau Belga has taken the responsibility to act as the team’s `big brother’ and serve as the voice of the underdog Elasto Painters in a king-sized upset of powerhouse Petron Boosters in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
The 6-foot-6 Belga scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, none bigger than a completed three-point play entering the final two minutes of Game Five Friday night that gave the Elasto Painters an 89-80 cushion from which they never looked back.
“Sobrang saya kasi pinag-trabahuhan namin ang laro ngayon,” said a beaming Belga, who also pulled down nine rebounds, while playing a big role in containing Petron behemoth June Mar Fajardo to just nine attempts from the field.
“Even though wala si coach, we really needed this game. At motivation din namin ang pagkawala ni coach, nagkasundu-sundo kami na maglalaro kami para sa kaniya,” he added.
Guiao was slapped with a one-game suspension for incurring four technical fouls in Games Three and Four combined, which also led to his ejection in the best-of-seven series.
The outspoken Rain or Shine mentor watched the game in the comfort of his home in Pampanga, while calling his assistant coach Caloy Garcia during halftime to give out some instructions.
Belga said his aggressiveness right from the get-go was borne from his desire to get his teammates going, both offensively and defensively.
“Gusto ko lang talaga manalo eh. Iyun (winning) ang motivation ko from the start pa lang. Eh siyempre, kung di ako magta-trabaho delikado kami,” said the big man out of Philippine Christian University.
With Rain or Shine earning a trip to the Finals of the all-Filipino tournament for the second straight season, Belga is hopeful the Elasto Painters can finally reward Guiao a first-ever Philippine Cup championship, something that has eluded the fiery coach since he started his coaching career in the pro league in 1990.
“Nobody knows eh baka makasundot kami. Saka regalo na rin namin kay coach ito (Finals trip) kasi all-Filipino (title) na lang ang wala niya eh,” said Belga.