Another Ateneo Blue Eagle made history. This time, SJ Belangel will be the first Asian quarter importer in the Korean Basketball League.
Two years ago, Thirdy Ravena, who brought him back to Katipnan Avenue in three championships, paved the way for Japanese Filipino players. Then Belangel had no idea that he would leave the blue and white nest to spread his wings in another country. Of course, he had a dream. The idea of playing behind his heart. But their thoughts have remained, especially since Tab Baldwin spent the first two years getting off the bench and was appointed as the lead guard for the third season.
After an average of 10.3 points, 3.0 assists and 2.7 rebounds, he not only proved to be a valuable successor to the pedigree from LA Tenorio to Christiu to Mattniet, but why was his extra-world talent? Was exhibited. Means for the world.
“Honestly, I never thought about it,” he replied after being asked how he felt about being the first Filipino in a suit in South Korea. “I am honored and excited to be able to play in South Korea while representing the Philippines.”
The 5ft 10 playmaker came here thanks to his skills and the work he has been working on to improve it. Even outside of Athenso, and even during a pandemic, he was there wearing the flag of Gillas Pilipinas. And in the first match of 2021 in the third window of his FIBA Asian Cup qualifying, which happened to play against South Korea, he became the winner of the buzzing game.
From that point on, the letters “S” and “J” (short for Samjosef) were tattooed on the Korean mind. They know him They will always know him. But a year later, who knew they would get to know him more.
In addition to being a Filipino game winner and Korean heartbreaker, Belangel is Atheneo’s two-time UAAP champion. But the first and most important facts Koreans need to know about him are actually these: his motivation and determination.
Student manager Miguel Assis, who is often with him on the morning shootaround of the pre-match ritual, said these two things are what make a 22-year-old Filipino guard a success at KBL. rice field.
“He’s always doing more than he expected,” he shared. “When it comes to preparing the game, I think our (team’s) practice is enough, but SJ takes it one step further. He’s always just a little to make his game higher than his competitors. I’m trying to find an advantage. “
Assis is a Verangel rebounder who witnessed it directly before Game 3 of the UAAP84 Final, as he focused on knocking down 10 shots from 7 spots on the morning of the match. The Blue Eagles lost then, but he had a career in college, so it wasn’t because of their lack of starting guard attempts.
“No matter where he is, he is always delivered,” Assis said. “I didn’t really want him lucky because I don’t think he needs it. There’s no doubt he’ll do great things because he’s done it for the rest of his life.”
Undoubtedly, Bacolod’s pride will bring that motivation and determination the moment it flies from Manila to Seoul about four hours later. Upon arriving there, Daegu Kogas Pegasus will be greeted not only by the in-game tone leader, but also by the floor leader, who sets an example outside the court.
“I have to adapt to the new system and language barrier, but I play my part. I will do my best to see what the coach wants me to do,” he said. “KBL is known to be very competitive, but I think it’s a tough time to grow as a player.”
Verangel is scheduled to head to South Korea in August, and the new season for KBL began in October, training with Pegasus, who will run for about eight months. If he leaves the Philippines, what does that mean for the people he leaves behind, and for the new era he will lead?
South Korea opens as another path for Filipino players
There are (or were) Filipinos in Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and Serbia. There was a Filipino in Australia-and he may have brought his talent to the NBA (good luck to Caisot!). By the way, there are Filipinos in Korea as well. The Philippines seems to continue to increase Valor’s exports, as they have proved their value wherever they are.
“I think this is another big step and a big opportunity for a Filipino athlete like me,” Verangel said of his historic signature. “This means that many countries are seeing the talent of young Filipino athletes. (My play in South Korea) opens another door for young Filipino athletes who want to play internationally. . “
Undoubtedly, PBA dreams have always been a top priority for Filipino players. But having more choices is a healthy development and is actually a testament to the overall health of Filipino basketball.
Atheneo hands over the point guard reins to Forceski Padrigao
Most arguably, losing Belangel is painful, especially only in the season that was removed after losing the “Mat Ice” Nieto. No one doubts the culture of Atheneo’s “next man”, but as a rookie he has achieved 29 points, 18 assists, 9 steals and 8 rebounds in 12 games, especially if the next man is Padrigao. increase. ..
His education to become more fundamental than flashy continues, and he has not yet proved himself in a big moment, but there is no doubt about his talent. He’s a table setter rather than a bucket getter, Belangel, which means he could unleash more of the season MVP Anju Quame. I have a scary idea now. When Sotto was still a blue eagle, he ate and ate well. Because Padrigao continued to feed him, whether he passed the entry pass at the post or broke into the paint that led to the drop-off.
UAAP loses superstars, but is also leaning towards intensifying competition
On paper, Atheneo became weaker. Let’s not get in the way. This means that on paper, the gap between them and the almost intact defending champion UP Fighting Maroons has widened. However, the dropout is very likely to have ignited under the Blue Eagles. After a long rule, something they might have been missing very well.
Don’t think for a moment that Atheneo is no longer a competitor. They are not yet. They will be thick for the championship. So are the semi-finalists LaSalle Green Archers and FEU Tamaraus. So are the up-and-coming Adamson Soaring Falcons and the National U Bulldog. And who knows? Maybe UST Growling Tigers and UE Red Warriors are even a nice surprise.
Gillas has guaranteed to have SJ Belangel.yet
Belangel’s new uniform may be red, but he still vows to wear Gillas Blue at all times, and every time the national team calls his name. As he said, “Girrus’ commitment, No.1 Saatin Yang. SiyempreSince nasa Bacolod pa akoIt was a dream to represent the country.If ma-call Ako, That is my top priority. “
It gives Gillas a young and talented leader for now and in the foreseeable future-the leader who played so well that he was just hired to play in the country where he defeated the national team.