IF he were in prison, Beau Belga made the most of a reverse parole on Sunday night when he played in Rain or Shine’s 105-73 win over TNT KaTropa in their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup.
The ROS enforcer was slapped a P17,500 fine and a one-game suspension for his elbow to Jason Ballesteros' face in their game against Kia last week.
But instead of serving the ban right away, the league decided to delay the penalty with the Elasto Painters already without Gilas standouts Raymond Almazan and Gabe Norwood for the game against the Texters.
Belga, who will will instead serve his suspension next Sunday in their game against Star marked his temporary freedom on Sunday by coming up with five points, including one triple, 10 boards three assists, one block, and one steal, against three fouls in almost 25 minutes as a starter, providing the leadership his shorthanded team needed.
“Sinabi lang sa akin ni coach Caloy last time na dapat may leader sa loob,” Belga said. “Wala si Gabe, wala si Jireh (Ibanes), so kailangan ko tulungan yung iba. Halos lahat sa amin, medyo mahiyain magsalita kaya ako na lang yung sumisigaw kung ano yung depensa namin at dapat gawin.
“Yun na lang ang tulong ko kasi next game, suspendido ako,” he added. “Wala akong masyadong maitutulong next game. Kaya sabi ko sa sarili ko, manalo lang today para naman come next game, meron kaming baon na momentum.”
The 30-year-old Belga admitted that the fine and suspension forced him to work on his maturity on the court more.
“Ako nanghihinayang ako pero nandyan na yan – suspension is served, wala ng complaint,” Belga said. “Ginawa ko yun, yun ang punishment sa akin, wala na akong control. It’s a lesson for me to control my emotions. I need to be there for my teammates kasi the coaches consider me as one of the veterans na.”
“I need to be a role model. ‘Di kailangang ako ang kokontrolin nila,” he added. “I hope na when it come next game, maging maayos kami.”
At least on Sunday, Garcia appreciated Belga’s maturity.
“I think Beau wanted to play well today, because alam niya may kasalanan siya sa team,” Garcia said. “The nice thing about it is he stepped up. Today, he didn’t show any hard fouls na useless.”
“Siguro na-ano na niya yung pag-inom ng kape, nabawasan,” he added in jest. “If he can be like that, he will be a huge help for the team.”