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SJ bares ‘second dad’ Tab wanted him to stay but ‘real’ family needed him

SJ Belangel has long been on the radar of Korean Basketball League teams.

Ever since the ‘shot’ during the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Koreans have salivated over the possibility of having the 5-foot-11 guard as an Asian import.

Teams like Seoul Samsung and Changwon LG sent in scouts trying to get imports. But they needed wingers, wanting the likes of Dave Ildefonso and Rhenz Abando.

“Nung second round, there have been calls na nangyayari during the season pero nagfofocus lang ako sa season e. After the season, dun na sila nagko-contact,” recalled Belangel during Tuesday’s episode of CNN Sportsdesk.

After the UAAP season though, the stars would align for Belangel.

Daegu KOGAS is set to lose lead guard Kim Nakhyeon for the next two years due to military service.

That’s when the Pegasus brass decided to ignite a talk with the 22-year-old.

“I heard dun sa KOGAS, they saw how I play tapos may mga agents (Agent Tommy Jang) tapos nakita daw niya na same kami maglaro, the way we play. Yung director also said about the plans and the developments,” he continued.

Of course, Belangel consulted with his ‘kuyas’ Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, along with Dwight Ramos.

And then, he had a talk with Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin. The American-Kiwi tactician though advised him to stay for at least one more year with the Blue Eagles.UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-Ateneo-vs-UP-SJ-Belangel-scaled SJ bares 'second dad' Tab wanted him to stay but 'real' family needed him ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“It’s really hard especially yung treatment ko sa kanya is second father na,” expressed Belangel. “Siya ang nag-change ng life ko, ng career ko, ng game ko, transitioning from high school to college.

“Ang dami ko natutunan sa kanya. Coach Tab was really pursuing me to stay but it’s the opportunity. At the end of the day, sabi niya sa akin, whatever your decision is, just make sure na akin yung decision and he’ll be there to support me.”

With his dad Sammy, Belangel would decide to sign on the dotted line and turn pro.

“It’s a great opportunity to grow as a player, know more about the Korean Basketball League, know more about the Korean culture, and it will help my family. Yun ang nagpa-decide sa akin.”

With his decision, he hopes that his brothers and sisters in Ateneo would continue to support him.

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At the end of the day, it’s still #BEBOB — Blue Eagles, Band of Brothers.

“Pati sila nagulat sa storya kahapon pero support pa rin sila. At the end of the day, they are still my brothers at susupport pa rin ako sa kanila,” he said about the teammates he leaves behind.

“Love ko pa rin yung Ateneo but it’s time for me to go pro.”

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