LIKE BIG MIKE: Ateneo's Belangel hoping to emulate Nieto's leadership

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 13, 2017 05:23 PM
LIKE BIG MIKE: Belangel hoping to emulate Nieto's leadership
THE VOICE. Now heading into his senior year, SJ Belangel is continuing to find out what it takes to be a leader.

In his second season in the UAAP Juniors, SJ Belangel established and then entrenched himself as the best young point guards in the country.

Serving up 16.8 points on 42.9 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, the pride of Bacolod fronted the resurgence of Ateneo de Manila High School which was one win away from a return to the Finals.

Humble as always, Belangel deflected all praise back to his teammates. Asked if he feels he has lived up to the hype he had coming from Bacolod, he answered, “Sa akin naman po, hindi kailangang magpadala sa hype. As a leader, it’s not about me or my hype.”

He then continued, “It’s all about involving my teammates. Basta laro lang ng laro and just share everything with my teammates.”

At one time back in his province, the now 17-year-old dropped 99 points.

Showing maturity, however, Belangel is always quick to remind that he has come a long way since then.

Still, following his first year as team captain, the Blue Eaglets’ court general admitted he had much to work on. As he put it, “As a leader, kulang pa po sa pag-communicate with my teammates and kulang pa po sa pag-involve sa kanila.”

While leading Ateneo to an 11-3 record and a classic four-game war for a seat in the Finals against eventual champion Far Eastern University-Diliman isn’t bad, Belangel said that’s not enough.

Going into what would be his second season as team leader, he said he is well aware that his voice needs to be heard a lot louder if the kids from Katipunan are going to make the leap. “Kailangan na kailangan lalo na po ngayon,” he expressed.

Just how loud? As loud as Mike Nieto once was back in his time dominating the high school ranks – if Belangel is to be believed

“Kaya. Kakayanin po natin yung Mike Nieto,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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