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Mac Belo got a dose of reality Friday night after the Blackwater rookie was held to his lowest scoring output of his young pro career in the loss to defending PBA Philippine Cup champion San Miguel at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The former Far Eastern University standout could only produce four points on 1-of-5 shooting in nearly 23 minutes of action, a far cry from his 17.2-point average in his seven previous games for the Elite.
Belo pointed out that San Miguel’s defense gave him a hard time, further compounded the disappointment he and the rest of the team experienced in the 118-93 loss to put Blackwater in sixth place with an even 4-4 record.
“Marami akong natutunan sa game na ‘to,” Belo told reporters after the game.
“Siyempre mahirap din sa part ko na binibigyan ako ng iba’t-ibang defense. So para sa sarili ko, marami pa akong kailangang iimprove.”
He entered the game facing the biggest test since he made his PBA debut in late November, facing a San Miguel team that was not only deep in talent but also the league’s best at this point of the conference.
And Belo quickly found out why the Beermen are living up to both status, as he struggled to find his rhythm on offense, particularly against Marcio Lassiter who was guarding him for most of the first quarter.
Lassiter also made Belo pay for his defensive miscues, resulting in several threes that allowed San Miguel to take control after trailing 8-2 at the start.
“Sobrang matured na sila,” Belo described. “Alam naman natin na champion team talaga sila. So marami akong natutunan.
Hindi sila nagmamadali, kung kalian sila aatake, may pinupuntahan pa sila sa post. Grabe yung pagiging mature nila pagdating sa laro.”
Those aspects are something Belo hopes to achieve as he moves forward from his first adversity as a pro.