Even after yet another painful semifinal exit, Rain or Shine’s burly big man Beau Belga chose to move forward as the Elasto Painters begin their quest for the elusive PBA championship on February 13 when they face Star in the Commissioner’s Cup at the Philsports Arena.
Rain or Shine was just 3 weeks removed from a stinging 6-game semifinal series defeat to eventual back-to-back Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer.
The Elasto Painters were ahead, 2-1, in the series, before dropping 3 straight games to kiss their all-Filipino championship hopes goodbye.
“Sinabi lang ni coach Yeng (Guiao) sa amin na kalimutan na yung nangyari nung semis. Instead, mag-look forward na lang kami for next conference,” Belga told FOX Sports over the weekend.
With import Wayne Chism returning for a 3rd tour of duty, Rain or Shine is again installed as the tournament favorite in the mid-season conference.
Chism, the 6-foot-8 former Tennesse standout, led Rain or Shine to a runner-up finish in this same conference last season after losing to Talk ‘N Text in an epic 7-game Finals series.
The American reinforcement averaged 25.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks last season.
Belga admitted the hunger factor has increased after more than 3 seasons of failing to win a single PBA championship.
“Basta kami, one game at a time lang at ta-trabahuhin uli namin yung eliminations. Hopefully, maganda itatakbo pagdating sa semis,” added the former Philippine Christian University big man, whose team’s 1st and so far, only league title came during the 2012 Governors Cup.
On the other hand, sophomore guard Jericho Cruz, who gave a good account of himself during the all-Filipino conference, said they are eager to redeem themselves this coming conference.
“Para sa amin, mas magiging motivation namin yung pagkatalo namin sa San Miguel kaya nga go-hard kami talaga every practice,” who averaged career-high numbers of 12.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists during the Philippine Cup.
Since the 2012 Governors Cup crown, Rain or Shine has had 4 runner-up finishes along with 8 semifinal appearances in the last 9 conferences. — By Richard Dy