Marked man Mac Belo takes struggles vs college rival Glenn Khobuntin, NLEX defense in stride
Mac Belo had a hard time against the defense of his old college rival Glenn Khobuntin. Jaime Campos

MAC Belo pinned his struggles against NLEX to his former college rival and Road Warriors banger Glenn Khobuntin as the Blackwater prized rookie was held down anew in Blackwater's 96-85 win over NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. 

Averaging 19 points coming into the game, Belo struggled with just nine markers and shot only 3-of-8 from the field against the Road Warriors defense. 

The Gilas cadet standout made special mention of Khobuntin, who also made things rough for him back when his Far Eastern University bowed to National University in the 2014 UAAP finals. 

"Maganda depensa ng NLEX, dine-deny nila ako. Nung una medyo binabasa ko palang defense nila, nangangapa ako," said Belo, who fired blanks in the first half. 

[See Blackwater pounces on shorthanded NLEX to get back on winning track]

"Oo (kabisado niya laro ko). Kasi nagkalaban kami sa 2014 [UAAP] finals. Sa SEA Games kami nagbabantayan lagi sa practice. Alam na namin laro ng isa't isa," he added

His lackluster performance in Wednesday's contest, though, was a concern for Elite coach Leo Isaac as Belo was again below par for the second straight game after finishing with only 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting in the loss to Rain or Shine. 

"Siguro teams have started taking notice of him. Scouted na sya so we have to make adjustments and he also has to improve his craft," Isaac said. 

Still, both Belo and Isaac were glad nonetheless that the Elite got bounced back strong after a two-game skid. 

"Okay lang kasi nakuha namin panalo. Tsaka maganda outcome kasi balanced scoring. Importante nakuha panalo, di lang naman sa individual yun e," Belo said.

"Hopefully magtuloy-tuloy para maganda Pasko namin," he added. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros