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HomeSportBeau steps up and takes Painters to level field

Beau steps up and takes Painters to level field


Beau steps up and takes Painters to level field

Beau Belga (right) is averaging close to 19 points a game. —PBA IMAGES

Beau Belga, easily one of the elders on the Rain or Shine roster, is playing his finest season of a long PBA career—and it’s more by accident than design.

The burly Elasto Painters forward is averaging 17.6 points per contest in the Philippine Cup—nearly double his usual numbers throughout his past 15 seasons in the league.

“The challenge for me has always been to stay healthy. Coach (Yeng Guiao) never told me that I have to shoulder a burden, but I already knew that he would rely on me with Keith (Datu) out,” he told the Inquirer.

“I think that became an entirely different kind of challenge for me,” he went on.

Belga has figured prominently in the young and scrappy team’s resurgence in the all-Filipino derby. He was even named the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week, joining the ranks of the league’s bona fide scorers like CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter and Robert Bolick.

On Friday night, even after a string of early fouls that kept him from playing his usual minutes in the first half, Belga still wound up with 18 points to lead all of the Elasto Painters in their 120-104 crushing of NLEX.

Aside from the absence of 6-foot-8 Datu, selected fourth overall in the last Rookie Draft, Rain or Shine has been missing 6-foot-7 Luis Villegas, another young big man the team selected third overall from the same class.

That left Belga as Rain or Shine’s legitimate presence in the middle for most of the elimination phase.

“On my end, I was just playing the typical game I’ve been playing: Reading the defense, taking a shot whenever I think I have it. In the many years I have been in this league, this has been truly the most shots I’ve taken. I have nearly double 1714857119,” Belga said. “And it was out of necessity.”

This will be the first time in a long while that Guiao, Belga, and the rest of the Elasto Painters will be playing in the next round without a handicap by being in a best-of-three series.

With a 6-5 win-loss mark, Rain or Shine can finish the preliminaries as high as the No. 3 seed and as low as No. 5.



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“The playoffs will be survival of the fittest.”





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