ALL basketball talk over the next week or so should be dominated by San Mig's quest for the first PBA grand slam in 18 years - and only the fifth in league history.
Beau Belga won't have none of it.
When the PBA Governors Cup Finals unfolds, the wide-bodied bruiser said Rain or Shine won't be focused on trying to stop San Mig from completing a sweep of the season's conference jewels. Instead, the Elasto Painters, Belga said, want to make their own destiny.
“Ang sabi lang naman sa amin ni coach (Yeng Guiao), 'Huwag nating isipin na pigilan yung grand slam but to make our own (run for the) championship,'” Belga told Spin.ph after Rain or Shine nipped Alaska, 97-94, in their sudden death semifinal match on Saturday night.
“So iyun (winning a PBA title) ang main motivation niya (Guiao) sa amin. Kasi kapag nakakuha kami ng championship, it follows na napigilan namin ang San Mig sa pagkuha ng grand slam,” he added.
But the former Philippine Christian University standout acknowledged that the road to a first championship in two years for Rain or Shine will be tough against the same team that denied it in this season's Philippine Cup Finals.
The obvious size advantage San Mig has on Rain or Shine, for one, will be tough to overcome, Belga said.
“We’re a small team,” said Belga.
In lieu of injured big man JR Quinahan, Belga's new frontline partner is rookie Raymond Almazan, whose lean frame hardly qualifies him to be a member of Rain or Shine's dreaded 'Extra Rice Inc.' frontline.
On the other hand, San Mig's frontline only got bigger since the two teams met in the Philippine Cup Finals, with Marqus Blakely providing added muscle and rookie Ian Sangalang becoming a bigger factor after two more conferences of seasoning under his belt.
But Belga said what the Elasto Painters lack in height and heft, they will try to make up for with their big, fighting heart - something they showed in a run of eight wins over their last 10 games on the way to the finals.
“Siguro ang magpapatakbo na lang sa amin is yung desire namin at yung puso ng team,” Belga said. “Palakihan na lang ng puso 'yan.”