SJ Belangel is poised to make a return to Gilas, not on the basketball court but in the virtual realm.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has announced the inclusion of the former Ateneo star in the NBA 2K Esports training pool.
Belangel, currently playing with Daegu KOGAS in the Korean Basketball League (KBL), will be vying for a spot in the 12-man training pool for the FIBA Esports Open Season 2.
The pool also includes Lynard Clark Banzon, Isaiah Vincent Alindada, Julian Thomas Mallilin, Joshua Miguel Machado, Prich Jayrald Diez, Ervill Elefante, Miguel Hubillar, Emile Juansengpue, Kenneth Guttierez, Enzell Socrates, and Juan Miguel Dela Pena.
E-Gilas, the moniker adopted by the Philippines’ NBA 2K team, is the defending champion of eFIBA Season 1 in Southeast Asia.
Belangel is best known for his buzzer-beating three-pointer during Gilas’ 81-78 victory over South Korea in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
He was also a member of the Gilas squad, composed of collegiate stars, that put up a closely contested 83-76 battle against European powerhouse Serbia during the 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament in Belgrade.
Belangel was not included in the Gilas pool for the FIBA World Cup 2023.