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SJ Belangel says decision will be made after Ateneo graduation

On Sunday evening, SJ Belangel became the talk of the town after news broke out that he will be foregoing his last two years of eligibility in the UAAP to go pro in the Korean Basketball League.

Belangel was in the middle of watching a PBA game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum together with Dave Ildefonso. He admitted that he was also caught by surprise with the developments.

He claimed that he hasn’t formally inked a contract yet with any team at the moment. However, Belangel admitted that there were some teams that expressed interest in his services.

“Actually, nagulat ako kasi sabi ko nga kanina, andito lang ako para manood sa fellow teammates ko, nag-eenjoy,” he shared. “Then suddenly nakiki-wifi lang ako dito sa arena tapos nagulat ako na mga teammates ko nagsabi congrats.

“’Di ko nga alam ano nangyari eh. Nagsabi pa lang naman ako, may mga teams na may gusto sa’kin and I haven’t signed anything yet. Basta may proposed lang na ganun.

“Nagulat ako, siyempre. It’s a big deal sa Ateneo community and for everyone here in the Philippines. As of the moment, andito lang talaga ako nanonood sa mga teammates ko and nag-eenjoy,” he added.

Earlier today, a report by Tiebreaker Times cited that the news was confirmed by none other than team manager Epok Quimpo. According to sources closely monitoring the situation, Belangel has already sought permission from school officials regarding his decision to turn pro.

Though the latest news linked him to a team in the KBL, Belangel shared that he also garnered interest from other teams belonging to various leagues across Asia. He mentioned that the coaching staff of the Blue Eagles was knowledgeable about his situation as well.

2021-fiba-asia-cup-qualifiers-gilas-vs-korea-SJ-Belangel-x-Dwight-Ramos SJ Belangel says decision will be made after Ateneo graduation ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

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“A Korean team, mga Japan, Taiwan. May mga nag-rereach out na mga Korean teams. Malapit narin ata ‘yung league nila that’s why,” he said. “Siyempre unang-una ‘pag nag-reach out, deretso naman sa mga coaches namin. Kasi it’s an opportunity rin pero at the same time, they need to know.”

For his part, the Bacolod native shared that he remains focused on finishing his degree in AB Interdisciplinary Studies at the moment.

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“For me right now, I’m just enjoying na pumasa ako sa Ateneo kasi ‘yun talaga ‘yung dream ko eh – na makapasa talaga sa Ateneo. Then suddenly, eto biglaang lumabas, pumutok, and parang nawala ‘yung pagkasaya ko,” said Belangel.

“For me, right now, I’m just enjoying na nakapasa ako and waiting for graduation. So soon enough, may decision din naman ‘yan.”

Belangel also mentioned that being able to take his act to Korea is a rare opportunity that he was blessed with. However, he admitted that it wasn’t an easy decision to make as he needed to weigh his options and determine the best step for his playing career.

“Pero for me, if merong mga opportunities na ganyan, siyempre once in a lifetime opportunity pero may kailangan din ako pag-isipan,” he claimed. “Di lang ‘pag may opportunity lumabas parang gagrab ko kaagad.

“You need to see the future – pros and cons na mangyayari, and for me ‘yun palang.”

After making a name for himself in the high school ranks, Belangel chose to remain in Katipunan to suit up for the Blue Eagles at the collegiate level. In the next three seasons, he averaged 7.38 points and 2.08 assists through 48 appearances.

Belangel normed 11.22 points per game in what ended up as his final UAAP campaign in the recently-concluded Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The 5-foot-11 guard vowed that he will continue to play his game and exert his best effort regardless of where he plays in the near future.

“For me, if that happens siguro siyempre may pressure naman talaga eh. For me, if ganun ‘yung nangyari, it would be a blessing and an opportunity. Lalaruin ko lang ‘yung laro ko. For me, if nangyari ‘yun then go,” Belangel said.

“Same lang ‘nung nirecruit ako ng Ateneo, kapag ganun naman ‘yung sinabi then I’m just going to play my game. ‘Pag binigay ng Panginoon sa’kin, I just have to return it to him.”

In the end, Belangel reiterated his commitment to the Gilas program despite the latest development. He will once again represent the country after being named to the pool that will be preparing for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ third window.

2021-fiba-asia-cup-qualifiers-gilas-vs-korea-SJ-Belangel SJ Belangel says decision will be made after Ateneo graduation ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

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“Number 1 naman natin ‘yun siyempre,” he claimed. “Since nasa Bacolod ako nakita naman na it’s been a dream to represent the country. Nangyari ‘yun last year na I represented the country pero if na-call up ka talaga, priority talaga ‘yun.

“It’s the top priority to play for your country and represent your country lagi.”

Written By

Student. Writer. Manager. Blue Eagle

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