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Belga, the ultimate villain

AS passionate as Filipinos are in basketball, Pinoys also love watching movies and telenovelas.

They treat their daily lives much like what’s happening to soap operas or local flicks, so it’s no surprising if they sometimes associate basketball players with their idols appearing on TV and on the big screen.

Basketball, just like in movies or television, have similarities. On the court, there are hard-court heroes and villains, too.

Take the case of Beau Belga, once a plain enforcer, who has blossomed to become one of the key players of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

To many, particularly those cheering for the PBA’s popular teams Ginebra and Purefoods, Belga is the one hated the most.

On Sunday, he tormented the Gin Kings with his rugged, highly physical plays. He engaged every important player from the Ginebra side either in a verbal dispute or put them at the receiving end, using his bulk and size, leaving Mark Caguioa or pint-sized guard Eman Monfort helpless.

Belga was the ultimate villain in that game. Gin Kings fans hated him. To them, he was like the PBA’s version of a villain, much like Paquito and Romy Diaz, Rocco Montalban, Joaquin Fajardo, Max Alvarado, Vic Diaz and Bomber Moran, to name a few.

But the 6’5” burly frontliner doesn’t mind. He would gladly relish the role as the villain if that’s what it takes to help his team win.

On Sunday, Belga did his villain role to perfection as he got into the head not just of the Gin Kings, but also the fans who were constantly booing him. Suddenly, Ginebra’s once insurmountable 18-point lead was cut down to 10, and then 5, until Rain or Shine had overtaken them and didn’t look back. 

In the end, he silenced the most popular team cheered on by the league’s most boisterous crowd. He made sure they went home disappointed.

Belga’s numbers proved he did more than just play the enforcer role. He finished the game with 11 points, while helping his team defend the Gin Kings’ giants, beefed up by seven-foot slotman Greg Slaughter, 6’9” import Michael Dunnigan, 6’9” forward Japeth Aguilar and 6’7” veteran slotman Dorian Pena.

Head coach Yeng Guiao, who himself has some resemblance with Yul Bryner, son of the pharaoh and the villain from the 1956 Cecile de Mille classic film Ten Commandments, had seen the evolution of Belga from just a mere enforcer to becoming a good, all-around player.

“The perception of many fans is that, Beau Belga is a dirty player. Belga is a big player and he uses his bulk and size to make him an effective player. But through the years, his game has evolved. Now, you can see him shooting, dribbling, passing and even making big plays down the stretch,” said Guiao. “He’s one guy every coach would want to have on his team.”

Love him or hate him, Belga is one player who plays an important role in the PBA, much like the villains who play important characters that make our local idols like Fernando Poe Jr., Rudy Fernandez or Robin Padilla get adored by the public.

So which character villain suits Belga best?    

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