Mac Belo finds need to get stronger after first taste of battle vs Belga and Co.
Rookie Mac Belo topscored with 19 points for Blackwater but admitted he needs to get stronger to be able to battle the likes of RoS enforcer Beau Belga. "Kailangan magpalakas," he says. Jaime Campos

A few days before the 42nd season of the PBA unfurls, highly-touted rookie Mac Belo is already proving his mettle for Blackwater.

In his preseason debut since being selected by the Elite during the Gilas draft last October 30, Belo carried the load for the Elite in a narrow 94-98 loss to Rain or Shine on Thursday. 

The 6-4 wingman finished with a team-high 19 points against a veteran-laden Rain or Shine side bannered by Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood, and Jeff Chan.

"Di ko napansin. Laro lang ako. Medyo sinwerte lang ngayong araw," the former Far Eastern University star said afer the tuneup game at the SGS Gym in Quezon City. 

[See Cruz, Jaywash show way as Rain or Shine beats Blackwater in tune-up]

Even coach Leo Isaac was satisfied with Belo and the young squad's showing in their first tune up game ahead of the league's opening on November 20.

"Happy ako sa outcome nito, we just have to make some adjustments on some little things. With the way we performed against Rain or Shine satisfied ako," he said.

"We expect to improve more in the coming days before the opening."

While the stellar performance spoke volumes about his worth, Belo said there is still much to prove. 

"Medyo naga-adjust pa ako," Belo, who inked a max deal with the team recently, said while pointing to the tough battle for position inside against the likes of Belga and Jewel Ponferrada.

"Meyo nahirapan ako sa big position. Malaki ang ka-posisyunan ko sa bigs kaya yun ang pinagaaralan ko, especially sa defense. Pag sine-seal ako, nahihirapan din ako kaya dapat mas maging madiskarte. Kailangan pa magpalakas."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros