There will be no stopping SJ Belangel from flying to the UAAP Seniors.
Not even a surgery that put titanium in his face.
Belangel had surgery to repair an OZM (Orbital-Zygomatic-Maxillary) fracture he sustained in the Blue Eagles’ Finals matchup against Adamson University in the 2018 Breakdown Basketball Invitationals (BBI) two weeks ago.
In the third quarter of that game, Ateneo’s prized rookie, as he is wont to do, fearlessly drove into the lane to make a play for his team.
Unfortunately, the right side of his face collided with the left knee of Soaring Falcons big man Papi Sarr. “Pag-drive ko po, nag-fake ako na mag-shoot tapos nag-drop pass. E si Papi Sarr tumalon tapos yung tuhod niya, sapul sa cheeks ko,” he shared.
He then continued, “Kaya ayun, OZM fracture.”
After that game, Belangel had to wait more than two weeks for the doctor who would perform the surgery.
The Blue Eagles and their faithful need not worry anymore, though, as the surgery done last Monday was a success.
Meaning, the first-year floor leader will be good to go by UAAP Season 81 in September. Asked if he will be back in time to make his rookie debut in the season opener, he said, full of confidence, “Yes po. Yes po.”
Also making the healing a lot easier for Belangel is the fact that Ateneo dedicated to him its strong showing in the recently concluded 2018 William Jones Cup. As Matt Nieto put it, “Alam namin na gusto niyang sumama rito kaso kinailangan siyang i-surgery. Kaya naglaro kami para sa kanya kasi part ng family si SJ.”
He then continued, “Ilalaro namin para sa kanya talaga yun.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @rieogogo.