PBA Philippine Cup

Scoring tear: Beau Belga resets career high as Rain or Shine closes in on playoff berth

Delfin Dioquino

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Scoring tear: Beau Belga resets career high as Rain or Shine closes in on playoff berth

THREE. Beau Belga in action for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

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Assuming bigger offensive responsibilities, Beau Belga powers Rain or Shine to its fifth straight win in the PBA Philippine Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Scoring isn’t exactly Beau Belga’s strongest suit.

The 37-year-old veteran, though, has been on an offensive tear in the PBA Philippine Cup as Rain or Shine extended its hot streak by way of a 115-105 victory over NorthPort at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Wednesday, April 17.

Resetting his career-high in scoring for the second time this conference, Belga notched 28 points on top of 13 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals to power the Elasto Painters to their fifth consecutive win after a dismal 0-4 start.

Belga normed just 11.5 points across those four straight losses before he assumed bigger offensive responsibilities following the knee injury of Keith Datu as he doubled his average to 22.8 points over the last five games.

“Since Keith got injured, I took it upon myself to be a ball hog. I now take 16 to 17 shots in a game. That is rare in my 15 years in the PBA because I usually take 10 to 11 shots at most,” said Belga in Filipino.

Coming out with guns blazing, Belga fired 10 points in the first quarter alone, allowing Rain or Shine to build a commanding 24-14 lead and keep control the rest of the way to deal the Batang Pier their third consecutive defeat.

But even with Belga being more involved in scoring, his playmaking has not taken a hit as he averages 5.4 assists – tied for fourth-most in the league with teammate Andrei Caracut.

In fact, Belga is one of only two big men in the top 10 in assists alongside Barangay Ginebra star Christian Standhardinger.

Belga also ranks fifth in rebounding with an average of 9.3 boards to make up for the absence of Datu and another rookie big man in Luis Villegas, who has yet to suit up for the Elasto Painters this season due to a knee injury.

“We’re happy because Beau has been consistent. He needs to double time since we lack bigs. We’re without Keith, and Luis has yet to play,” said Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao.

Jhonard Clarito backstopped Belga with 17 points to go with 7 rebounds and 2 steals, while Adrian Nocum put up 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists as the Elasto Painters inched closer to an outright quarterfinal berth.

Old reliable Mark Borboran added 12 points in the win, 10 coming in the third quarter to help Rain or Shine enter the final frame up 81-72.

Rookie forward Zavier Lucero submitted his finest performance of the season with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals, but those were not enough for NorthPort to snap out of its funk as it fell to 4-4.

Allyn Bulanadi netted a season-high 26 points in the loss, Kris Rosales chimed in 12 points, while Arvin Tolentino tallied 11 points and 4 steals.

The Scores

Rain or Shine 115 – Belga 28, Clarito 17, Nocum 16, Borboran 12, Caracut 8, Asistio 7, Mamuyac 6, Santillan 5, Ildefonso 5, Belo 5, Demusis 4, Paredes 2.

NorthPort 105 – Lucero 29, Bulanadi 26, Rosales 12, Tolentino 11, Flores 9, Amores 8, Munzon 6, Navarro 4, Paraiso 0, Yu 0, Zamar 0, Cuntapay 0, Adamos 0.

Quarters: 24-14, 48-38, 81-72, 115-105.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.