What a year it has been for Mac Belo.
After capping off his collegiate career with a UAAP title, the accolades didn’t stop there for Phoenix’s star forward.
For the past year, he has won a gold medal in the 2016 Seaba Cup, named as the MVP in the past PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, and now a Foundation Cup title as his latest accomplishment.
Soaking it all in on Thursday after the Accelerators’ hard fought 87-78 Game 3 triumph over Tanduay to finally claim the 2016 Foundation Cup, the Midsayap, North Cotabato native could just sigh looking back on how far he has gone with his basketball career.
“Blessing. Pinaghirapan din namin talaga,” Belo said after the Accelerators’ 87-78 win over the Tanduay Rhum Masters Thursday in Game 3 of the D-League Finals. “Hindi ko alam yung sasabihin ko kasi grabe na yung blessings ni God sa akin.”
But things didn’t come easy for Belo, who is regarded as one of the best amateur players in the country today.
From emerging as the unassuming leader for the crew, he has provided the stability for Phoenix this season.
He was tested in this series against the Rhum Masters as the lone player who consistently showed up for the Accelerators, keeping the ship afloat while waiting for his teammates to strike at the right time.
In Game 1, he had all the help he needed as he single-handedly pulled the team to the win. It wasn’t the case, though, in Game 2, as Tanduay easily leveled the series.
But Game 3 is no ordinary game, as Belo conspired with old running mates Mike Tolomia and Raymar Jose to complete the season sweep for Phoenix.
“Hindi naging madali itong championship na ito. Pinaghirapan at pinaghandaan namin ito,” he said, as he finished the game with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. “We had a good start and hanggang sa dulo, na-sustain namin. Grabe din yung depensa namin talaga.”
With another title in the bag, the FEU star now shifts his focus to another challenge, the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge to be exact.
“Focus kami for Fiba sa Iran,” Belo said, as he leads the amateur-laden team in the 12-team tourney that will run from September 9 to 18 in Tehran.
“Di naman kami ganoon katangkad so kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin. It’s time to focus kasi sa sistema ni coach Josh (Reyes), talagang kailangan namin ng mabilisang laro at mag-click ang defense namin. Sana maganda ang maipakita namin doon para sa bayan.”