Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo had been on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against the Meralco Bolts, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
But as they say, good things must come to an end.
Despite having 13 rebounds, Belo was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to the TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they had come off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.
“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.
“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”
It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brilliantly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.
“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.
“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”
But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which were encapsulated by their second half collapse that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.
“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”
Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus the GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.
“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.
“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”