Twenty-three-year-old Rey Mark Belo came to work on a Wednesday in his usual laid back self. If he was scared, he didn’t show it. If he was nervous, only he knew. From his first basket 35 seconds into the game until the final buzzer, Belo maintained the composure of someone who didn’t lie in his résumé. His team, Blackwater Elite, knew exactly why they hired the 6-foot-3 power forward. Belo knew they were right.
He received best player honors in his first day as a professional basketball player. It wouldn’t be his last.
“‘Yung mga kalaban dito sobrang mama na. Malalaki sila so kailangan mo gamitin ‘yung strengths mo,” he told Sel Guevara, a courtside reporter who asked him what the biggest challenge was in his PBA debut.
Belo scored 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting. He also grabbed 9 rebounds.
“Madami pa akong kailangan i-improve.”
Four days later, he again found himself face to face with Guevara after another victory, and yet another Best Player award. It was his second game as a pro, but he was already talking about defensive adjustments and ball movement as if he was a senior executive brought in for a cultural change.
“Kailangan mabilis ‘yung pasahan ng bola para may ma-open na teammates,” he said.
He dropped 25 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in his second game in the PBA. His team is enjoying their best start in franchise history with two consecutive wins.
In Belo’s two interviews, with encouragement from Guevara, he never failed to give shouts out to his family, his girlfriend, the fans, the families of his teammates, and those who hired him.
“Lahat ng mga boss ko binabati ko.”
Mac Belo will soon become an MVP awardee in the PBA. A week on the job, he is already a model employee.