Mac Belo becomes cornerstone of Blackwater after signing three-year, P8.5M deal
Mac Belo is being tapped to lead a young Blackwater core that also includes fellow rookie Ael Banal, Kyle Pascual, Roi Sumang, John Pinto and JP Erram. Jerome Ascano

BLACKWATER finally got its first ever blue-chip player when it officially came to terms with Gilas cadet standout Mac Belo.

The 6-foot-4 native of Midsayap, Cotabato signed with the Elite on Monday for a three-year contract that truly speaks of his worth, according to team owner Dioceldo Sy.

The power forward out of Far Eastern University was give a max deal that guarantees him a monthly salary of P150,000 in his rookie season and escalates per year. The total package sums up to P8.5 million.

The signing of Belo comes just two days after the team welcomed rookie guard Raphael Banal on board by giving him a two-year contract valued at P3.4 million.

[See Ael Banal signs two-year, P3.4 million rookie contract with Blackwater]

Belo was the first star player the three-year franchise has signed out of the PBA Rookie Draft after initially swapping the No.1 overall pick of last year’s draft to TNT Katropa in a three-team trade that also involved NLEX.

The transaction paved the way for rookie Kevin Alas moving to the Texters, KG Canaleta going to NLEX, and Larry Rodriguez ending up at Blackwater.

TNT Katropa went on and used the top pick in selecting 6-foot-7 Mo Tautuaa.

Sy sees Belo and Banal forming a young promising core for the Elite in tandem with Art dela Cruz, Juami Tiongson, John Pinto, Roi Sumang, Kyle Pascual, and JP Erram, once he recovers from his ACL operation.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos