UAAP 82: Slowly but surely, Ateneo featuring new and improved SJ Belangel

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 30, 2019 09:06 PM
Ateneo featuring new and improved SJ Belangel
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

When most eyes were on Thirdy Ravena or Ange Kouame for Ateneo de Manila University and Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie for the University of the Philippines, it was a different player altogether who turned the Battle of Katipunan into a blowout.

Second-year guard SJ Belangel provided the spark for the Blue Eagles' second quarter charge that turned a one-point deficit into a 16-point lead.

They would never look back from there and Belangel wound up with 14 points, all but five coming in the second quarter, to go along with three rebounds and two assists.

And the 19-year-old was able to do all that by staying within the system. "Siguro, nag-iba na rin laro ko kasi pagpunta ko kay Coach Tab, hindi na iso ball kundi team ball. Dahil dun kaya siguro, ibang SJ Belangel na from Jrs. to Srs.," he shared.

When he starred for the Blue Eaglets, Belangel had the ball in his hands for majority of their matches en route to eye-popping numbers of 17.2 points in 52.3 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals..

In his first year in the Srs. squad, however, those turned into averages of merely 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds.

Still, Belangel kept full faith in his mentor. "Tiwala lang lagi kay Coach Tab kasi nagagawa ko 'to dahil sa kanya," he said.

Now as a sophomore guard, he has normed 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists and has continued giving glimpses that the blue and white's court general post will still be in good hands even after the graduation of Matt Nieto. "Lagi lang ready whether pinapalaro ka or 'di man. Basta pag tinawag ka ni Coach Tab, laging ready lang," he said.

He then continued, "Kahit one minute ka lang, ibigay mo lahat."

Along with that, Belangel said he just wants to give his all for his seniors in Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. As he put it, "Last year na ng seniors ko so lagi ko lang nire-remind sarili ko na lalaro ako para sa kanila."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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