MANILA, Philippines—After Rain Or Shine squandered a 29-point lead to lose Game 2 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals series against San Miguel Beer, veteran big man Beau Belga made his feelings clear.
"Hindi pa ako naggi-give up," he said last Monday, after the Elasto Painters went down 0-2 in the best-of-five series. "Malayo pa."
In Game 3, with the Elasto Painters' backs against the wall, Belga backed up his strong words with big plays. He had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, making 6-of-8 shots from the field. None was bigger than the 3-pointer that he lofted over June Mar Fajardo with under 15 seconds left, the dagger in Rain or Shine's 112-104 victory.
Game 4 is on Friday, with the Elasto Painters looking to drag the series to a deciding fifth game.
"Wala, sabi ko sa sarili ko titira ko ‘to, bahala na kung ano'ng mangyari. Na-shoot, so OK," said Belga of his huge shot. "Pagka nagmintis 'yun, bahala na si Lord kung anong ano namin."
Belga had no doubts about taking the shot, not with Rain or Shine holding on to a 107-104 lead, and the clock running down.
"Alangan namang ipasa mo pa, 'di ba?" he said. "So sabi ko, akin na 'to. 'Wag niyo nang pakialaman. Naging maganda 'yung resulta."
"So sana, ganoon ulit, may swerte ulit sa susunod," he added.
It was not the only big 3-pointer that Belga nailed in the quarter. He also converted a long-range bomb with 3:45 left that gave Rain Or Shine a 98-97 lead, paving the way for a close finish.
Also hitting crucial shots was Gabe Norwood, who put the Elasto Painters ahead for good with 64 seconds left when he knocked down a triple that made it 105-104.
Their efforts ensured that Rain Or Shine would not suffer a meltdown for the third straight game. The Elasto Painters had been ahead by as many as 18 points in the second quarter, but again succumbed to a fiery run by San Miguel to figure in a nip-and-tuck contest.
"Wala na, natuto na," said Belga of their team. "Dalawang laro, enough na 'yun."
"So ngayon, gusto lang ni coach Caloy (Garcia) na maging pisikal kami, man enough para na umano doon sa challenge nila samin. And pinanindigan namin," he added. "'Yun lang yung kaibahan nung laro ngayon. So hopefully, the next game ganu'n ulit."
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