A BILLY Joe Belga is playing for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the Filoil preseason tournament. And yes, he's the brother of Rain or Shine enforcer Beau Belga.
An 18-year-old high school graduate out of Sorsogon, Billy Joe, or BJ to his teammates and coaches, is part of the Tamaraws roster in the preseason and hopes to crack the team's lineup in the coming UAAP campaign.
Although he wears big brother's No. 30 jersey, the younger Belga readily made it clear that he doesn’t play with the same kind of physicality that the Rain or Shine star has become known for in the PBA.
“’Yung pagka-brusko niya, hindi masyado. Pero ‘yung galaw, halos pareho lang daw po,” Billy Joe, who stands 6-foot-2, told Spin.ph after FEU's game on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.
Interestingly, BJ said Beau had very little influence on his basketball skills. In fact, he said he started playing basketball much earlier than his older brother, who he said was actually a volleyball player before being recruited by Philippine Christian University in the NCAA to jumpstart his basketball career.
“Mas nauna pa akong maglaro ng basketball sa kanya,” said BJ, the youngest among three siblings with Beau the eldest. “Siya kasi, fourth year high school na, ako elementary pa lang. Na-impluwensyahan lang si kuya ng mga barkada niya kasi matangkad siya.
“Maliit pa lang ako, basketball na talaga hilig ko,” he added.
Asked how he ended up playing in Manila for the Tamaraws, BJ said he was spotted by a former teammate of his older brother in an open tournament in Sorsogon.
“Naglaro ako sa open tournament sa probinsya namin. ‘Yung import namin, dating teammate ni kuya tapos kilala rin si (FEU) coach Nash (Racela). Sabi niya, 'Nandito ‘yung kapatid ni Beau.' Hindi sila nag-dalawang-isip. After graduation, pinapunta nila ako sa FEU,” said BJ.
The younger Belga, however, knows he still has to work his way up in his first season with FEU. He has played only limited minutes for the Tamaraws in preseason tournaments and has a lot of work to do in order to break the UAAP lineup.
“Focus lang daw ako sa depensa kaya ako, sinusunod ko lang,” said BJ.
BJ, who unlike Beau usually plays the 2-guard position, said his big brother had only once piece of advice to him - and it has nothing to do with basketball.
“Sabi nga niya, mag-aral ako. Mag-focus daw ako sa pag-aaral tapos second na ‘yung basketball,” said BJ.