AFTER playing in the shadows of superstar teammates in college, Mark Belo will now try to make a name for himself when he plays for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
The 20-year-old Far Eastern University Tamaraw considrs being included in the men’s team that will vie for the gold in the SEA Games next month as one of the biggest breaks in his young basketball career.
“Sobrang blessed. Dream come true ito,” said the North Cotabato native. “Malaking opportunity ito sa akin as a basketball player.”
After playing a supporting role to UAAP MVPs Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia at FEU, Belo has found himself in the company of Gilas cadets and some of the college game's biggest stars like Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks.
Belo became the lone FEU player in the SEA Games roster after Romeo and Garcia were drafted by Globalport in the PBA.
Despite not being the ‘star player’ for his mother team but averaging respectable numbers of 8.1 points and 6.9 rebounds with the Tamaraws in the UAAP Season 76, the coaching staff believes the 6-foot-4 Belo will play a big role for the Jong Uichico-squad that will play a run-and-gun style of offense.
Coaches said they like his ability to shoot from the outside as well as his moves inside the paint.
“Ang perception (sa SEA Games) is hindi mo kailangan ng malaking player when it comes to the four spot. Good fit si Mark sa team because this team wants to run, magiging advantage siya kapag naglaro siya sa kuwatro (power forward),” said FEU coach Nash Racela, one of Uichico’s assistants in the national team.
“Sa pananaw ng coaching staff, he will play well sa four spot. Someone who can spread the floor, someone who plays well facing up. I think ‘yun ang magiging advantage niya,” Racela added.
Belo said he is happy to play a role in the team built around the best amateur players in the country.
“Siguro, gagawin ko lang ‘yung part ko, kung ano ang sasabihin ni coach. Sobrang saya ko at nagpapasalamat lang ako sa Panginoon na nabiyayaan ako,” said Belo.