Mac Belo eager to put underwhelming rookie season behind him
Mac Belo is back at full strength and looking to bounce back for Blackwater. Marlo Cueto

MAC Belo is eager to pick up from where he left off the last PBA Philippine Cup as he tries to put up a sensational sophomore season for Blackwater, which makes its season debut on Friday against Meralco at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The early frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year Award last season, Belo faded in the middle of the year no thanks to a knee injury that sidelined him for most of the Commissioner’s Cup - and ruled him out of possible stints with Gilas Pilipinas.

Although the former Far Eastern University star managed to return in the Governors’ Cup, he hardly regained his fiery form in the all-Filipino tournament.

The consensus top pick of the special draft not only missed out on the top rookie plum, he failed to land a spot in the all-Rookie team altogether.

FEU teammate and TNT standout Roger Pogoy was eventually named Rookie of the Year, leading the all-Rookie team also featuring Matthew Wright, Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon, and Reden Celda

The 24-year-old Belo seeks to forget the recent past and is just focused on the present and regaining his old form for the Elite.

“Sana, sana,” Belo told SPIN.ph after a recent practice. “Yun naman yung wino-work ko every day dito sa practice.”

Belo, who averaged 15.1 points, 7.5 boards, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and only 1.5 turnovers in 33.7 minutes in the Philippine Cup, would rather see his team sustain its gains from the Governors’ Cup where they reached the quarterfinals and dragged top seed Meralco to a deciding game.

“Syempre, mas importante pa rin yung win sa amin, so yun yung laging sinasabi ni coach  sa amin na teamwork na kailangan naming,” Belo said.

The addition of third overall pick Raymar Jose and the return of veteran playmaker Mike Cortez will likely speed up the process.

“Good combination na rin kasi karamihan sa amin mga bata eh, so mas advantage sa amin yung ganun.” Belo said.

Whether their chemistry translates to immediate victory or not will be known as the Elite face off against the Bolts at 4:15 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos