Mac Belo is ready to take on the leadership role as Blackwater took a different route following a series of trades by rewarding him with a three-year contract extension worth P16.2 million.
Blackwater management opted to give Belo a new deal after shipping star rookie Ray Parks Jr. and Mike DiGregorio in separate trades with TNT KaTropa and Allein Maliksi to Meralco in the past three weeks.
“It’s a challenge for me. Panibagong yugto,” Belo said. “Nakikita naman nila boss yung hard work ko and ayun binigyan nila ako ng magandang contract. Ngayon as a leader ng team, kailangan ko lang na tulungan din yung mga coaches, yung mga teammates mo na maging one page kami sa lahat ng gagawin namin.”
The Elite are all but assured of missing the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup with a 2-7 record going into Wednesday’s match against the San Miguel Beermen at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Belo has figured prominently for the Elite by averaging 11.7 points on 47 percent shooting with 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
But his solid play has been overshadowed by the trades Blackwater pulled off since last month, beginning the unloading of DiGregorio to TNT for guard Brian Heruela.
DiGregorio was the team’s third leading local scorer at 10.8 points prior to the trade spiked by a 65-percent clip from rainbow territory.
Next to be moved was Maliksi, who was dealt along with Raymar Jose to Meralco in exchange for veteran KG Canaleta and Belo’s former Far Eastern University teammate Mike Tolomia.
The Parks trade, something that was anticipated for weeks, became a reality after All Saint’s Day when the PBA Commissioner’s Office gave the go-signal to move the second overall pick of the 2018 Draft to TNT for Don Trollano, Tony Semerad and a 2021 first round selection.
Back to square one, Belo is hoping that Blackwater can pick the pieces in hopes of a revival, beginning with the draft where the Elite could end up having the first overall selection.
“Challenge lang ngayon kasi may mga bago kaming players. Kailangan namin mag-regroup ulit,” said Belo. “And kailangan namin pagtrabahuan ang next conference, All-Filipino.
“Yun yung pagtatrabahuan namin as a team. Especially ngayon paparating din yung draft. Hopefully makakuha kami ng makakatulong sa amin,” he added.