RAIN or Shine big man Beau Belga is one with Filipino ordinary basketball fans in saying the FIBA-World Cup-bound Gilas Pilipinas should be comprised of no less than the country’s best of the best players.
Aware that the event is the biggest basketball meet in the world, Belga believes fielding the crème dela crème of Philippine basketball will help the country make a statement that Filipino cagers can compete against the world’s best.
“Ganun naman talaga dapat eh. Yung best of the best natin ipadala dun. Kasi minsan lang tayo mag qualify diyan. Hindi taon-taon nakakasali Pilipinas dyan. Kailan pa `yung last natin?” stated the outspoken cager.
“Yung Team USA nga, malakas na di ba? Pero all out pa rin sila bumuo ng team. Saka ang irony nun, sila namomroblema sa dami ng players. Tayo namomroblema dahil walang player na available,” added Belga, a reserve with the Gilas team that finished runner-up in the last Fiba-Asia Men’s Championships.
Belga also supported calls by the fans to include Barangay Ginebra’s ‘three kings’ LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, and Gregory Slaughter.
“Oo, pwede ang mga yun. Tested na sina LA at Japeth, tapos sa nilalaro ni Greg, I am sure kaya niyang dalhin sa international stage `yung laro na yun,” said the burly 6-foot-5 forward.
Belga also mentioned the big help other stars like Arwind Santos, James Yap, Mark Caguioa, Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss and others who were not part of the last national team.
“Tested na ang mga yun. Alam natin kapasidad nila!” he said. “Hindi ko lang alam kung ipapahiram sila. Pero sana nga, ipahiram sila gaya sa team namin, kahit buong Rain or Shine kunin. OK lang. Kasi para sa bayan naman ito. Hindi naman pansarili lang.”
Told that opening up the Gilas pool to other PBA players would further decrease his chances of making it to the final 12-man lineup, Belga said it doesn’t bother him a bit.
“Okay lang sa akin `yun. Basta para sa akin, kung ano makakaganda para sa bansa. Kung ano ang makaka-proud para sa ating mga Pilipino, susuportahan ko,” he said.
“Nung last Fiba-Asia nga tinanggap ko nang maluwag `yung pagkaka-cut sa akin, dito pa kaya. Saka kahit hindi ako nakalaro sa Fiba-Asia dati, proud ako at alam ko na naging bahagi nung team na yun,” said the bruising former Philippine Christian University Dolphin.
For the first time in nearly four decades, the Philippines qualified for the World Basketball Championships where 23 of the best teams in the globe will see action.
But national coach Chot Reyes earlier told Spin.ph that his hands are tied as he was only given the start of August to hold his training camp with the entire team, which with the exception of naturalized cager Marcus Douthit, are all coming from the PBA.
Reyes also bared how he has already turned down offers from different countries for a series of tune-up games prior to the FIBA-World Cup owing to the non-availability of players.
The eight-time PBA champion coach was initially batting for at least three straight months of preparations for the world meet.