MANILA, Philippines – Being included in the national team is one thing, proving one's worth is another.
Beau Belga hopes to repay the trust of Philippine men's basketball team head coach Yeng Guiao, who named the burly player in the final 12-man lineup for the Asian Games.
Twice cut in previous Gilas Pilipinas squads – first in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and then in the 2014 FIBA World Cup – the Rain or Shine forward knows work is far from done even after securing his spot in the squad.
"Masarap sa pakiramdam na napasama na rin sa wakas," Belga told reporters after Guiao unveiled his final lineup on Friday, August 10.
(If feels good to be included at last.)
"Very thankful kay coach Yeng sa tiwala. Kailangan na lang suklian 'yung tiwala na 'yun."
(I'm very thankful to coach Yeng for his trust. What I need to do is repay his trust.)
Belga knows too well what it feels like not making the cut. (READ: Jordan Clarkson out for Asian Games)
So even when Guiao previously said Elasto Painters players were already shoo-ins, the burly stalwart dismissed the news.
"As long as hindi ko nakikita 'yung sarili ko – 'yung pangalan ko sa Final 12 – 'di ka pwede magkumpiyansa."
(As long as I don't see my name in the Final 12, I can't be overconfident.)
But now assured of his slot, Belga credits his familiarty with Guiao, with whom he had worked with for more than 6 years in Burger King and Rain or Shine.
"I think ako na yata ang pinakamatagal na nakasama ni coach Yeng dito. So 'yung familiarity when it comes to his system, kaya din siguro pinagtiwalaan ako ni coach Yeng," he said.
(I think I've been with coach Yeng the longest. It's probably my familiarity with his system that made him decide to include me in the team.)
Belga has high hopes for the team despite the limited preparation time.
"Siguro 'yung samahan noong team na kahit maiksi lang 'yung preparasyon, nakikita ko na okay, maayos ang nagiging takbo in the past few days."
(I can see that the team is running well in the past few days even if we didn't have much time to prepare.)
The Philippines will face Kazakhstan in its first Asiad game on August 16 in Jakarta, Indonesia. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.