Mac Belo will have at least a full year to show his true potential as he officially joins Rain or Shine.
On Wednesday, the player who led Far Eastern University to winning the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines to a championship on top of claiming the Finals Most Valuable Player eight years ago, had his first practice with the Elasto Painters before signing a one-year deal with the squad.
Team executive Jireh Ibanes informed Daily Tribune that coaches were pleased with what they saw with Belo, whose rights were acquired by the Elasto Painters in a trade with stretch big Norbert Torres.
The coaches were happy with what they saw,” wrote Ibanes via Messenger.
Belo burst onto the Philippine Basketball Association scene full of promise following his solid performance in the UAAP in 2015.
He was selected in the 2016 special draft for Gilas players by Blackwater, but was often sidelined by injuries, before he was shipped to Meralco.
At Meralco, he was also hardly utilized as he was either slowed down by injuries or stuck in the deep rotation and had to fight for minutes in both forward spots alongside Allein Maliksi, Alvin Pasaol, Cliff Hodge, Reymar Jose, Bong Quinto and even Reynel Hugnatan, who was still the import at that time.
Belo’s position was also normally being occupied by imports playing in the Governors’ Cup.
But with his new team Rain or Shine, Belo is set to get the opportunity that he needs to raise the level of his game and bring his confidence back.
“We will be lenient in our approach with Mac. We want to get him the feel of the team. We’re not going to rush him,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao. “Reviving his career will depend on him, but we will give him the chance, the opportunity to revive his career, get his confidence back. The rest, it will really all depend on him.”
As early as two years ago, Guiao, then the head coach and general manager of NLEX Road Warriors, was trying to get Belo from Blackwater, but he was beaten to the draw by Meralco.
With Rain or Shine, Guiao is now making room for Belo and he had started doing this in the first preseason win by Rain or Shine, which did a lot of experimenting, converting the small forward Shaun Ildefonso in becoming a point guard, while also trying to make Leonard Santillan, a power forward, to play the wing spot in anticipation for the inclusion of its new player.
Belo will officially start playing as an Elasto Painter on Friday, June 2, when Rain or Shine faces the streaking Phoenix Super LPG squad.