AFTER matching up with Beau Belga for the second time in his career, Justin Arana said he still has a lot to learn in terms of the physicality in the PBA.
During Converge’s last game against Rain or Shine, Arana impressed with 16 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks while going up most of the time against Belga, one of most bruising enforcers in the league today.
Against Arana, Belga had decent numbers as he still had eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals even though he only had four points in that game.
Even with his size, strength, and his output on Sunday, Arana still thinks that he still needs to learn in overcoming the physical defense of the Belgas of the league.
“Siyempre, marami rin ako natutunan kay Kuya Beau,” said Arana. “Siyempre, sobrang ano na siya sa liga at especially sa pisikal, ang dami ko talagang natutunan sa kanya.”
“Kailangan ko pa talagang mag-extra pa kasi like si Kuya Beau nga, kailangan ko ma-adopt ‘yung physicality sa PBA para tumagal rin ako,” Arana added.
Arana’s PBA debut was actually spoiled by Belga, who hit the game-winning shot for Rain or Shine, 79-77, in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup opener. Belga also had 17 points, outplaying Arana, who only had six markers.
In that same game though, Belga described Arana as a smaller version of six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo because of his ability to play physical.
In his second clash with the Rain or Shine veteran, the Converge rookie said he tried to hold his ground while also looking to learn from Belga.
“Bump bump lang, ganun. Normal lang naman. Siyempre, para rin sa akin ‘yun kaya tinanggap ko lang din ‘yun. Nacha-challenge din ako. Siyempre Beau Belga ‘yun eh. Na-cha-challenge ako na bantayan si Kuya Beau talaga,” said Arana.
The Converge big man got a measure of payback against Rain or Shine as he hit the marginal basket on Sunday for the FiberXers’ 102-101 win over the Elasto Painters, a boost to their hopes of bagging one of the two twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals.
“Malaking boost din sa akin. Hindi ko naman iniisip kung ano man ‘yun. Focus lang talaga kami sa game. Kailangan naming manalo para makuha namin ‘yung top two spots. Nag-trabaho lang kami,” said Arana.