BLACKWATER has nothing to be ashamed of even if it fell short again of clinching a first-ever PBA semifinals stint.
Mac Belo urged the Elite to keep their heads high in the aftermath of the team’s 85-83 loss to Rain or Shine Thursday for the right to advance in the Final Four of the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup.
Belo felt proud the young franchise was able to take its best-of-three series against the Elasto Painters into a do-or-die game and actually have the chance to turn things around in the stretch run when the third-year forward waxed hot and rallied the Elite from as many as a 75-82 deficit.
“Proud especially sa mga teammates ko kasi nakuha namin yung pinaka-mataas na seed sa franchise ng Blackwater. We just ranked no. 3 (after the eliminations). Sa mga coaches namin na ginawa ang lahat para umabot kami kung saan kami ngayon, and shout-out din kay Greg (Smith) na malaking tulong para sa amin this conference,” said Belo.
The Elite appeared ready to walk away with the win early on after racing to a commanding 45-32 lead in the first half.
But the Elasto Painters creeped their way back into the game in the third quarter to make a fight out of it.
Belo didn’t know what hit them.
“Ang bilis ng pangyayari. On my side, focus lang ako sa game namin so hindi ko na napapansin (yun),” he said.
The former UAAP Finals MVP out of Far Eastern University finished with a team-high 16 points and had five rebounds. His back-to-back three-pointers inside the final minute of the thrilling contest tied the game at 83-all and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
“Hindi talaga naibigay sa amin today, ngayong conference. So lesson learned ito para sa amin,” said Belo.
But the experience was good enough for Blackwater that Belo is confident the team will be even better come the season-ending Governors Cup.
“Coming to next conference, madadala namin ito,” he said. “Feel ko ready na kami next conference.”