Mac Belo spent his years in the UAAP as FEU’s deadly assassin. During his early years with the Tamaraws, he was tasked to do the dirty work, a job description that spanned from rebounding the ball, to defending the opposing team’s ace player, and of course, being the complementary guy for FEU’s then-dynamic duo of RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. He earned high praises from his coaches and teammates, but his game wasn’t quite catching the attention of the general audience… yet. But after the departure of Garcia and Romeo, the Tamaraws now belonged to Belo, and he would never be overlooked again.
While Belo maintained his effectiveness in rebounding the ball and playing good defense, he now had touches on the offensive end, which lead to him scoring more. But unlike FEU’s other (past and present) go-to-guys, Belo boasts of a high efficiency rate shooting the basketball, in spite of the increase in his usage rating.
Mac Belo has also been able to raise his game in crucial situations. In 2014 and 2015 he led the FEU Tamaraws to back-to-back Finals appearance with two buzzer beaters in the Final Four against DLSU in 2014 and Ateneo in 2015 to send them to the Finals.
Sorry Green Archers…
… and Blue Eagles…
In the end, Belo proved he could shine on the biggest stage, capping off his UAAP career with a 23-point effort against the UST Growling Tigers in game three of the Season 78 Finals, to give FEU their first title in 10 years. For his hard work, he even earned the Finals MVP trophy to go with the championship.
In the recently concluded PBA D-League conference, he also bagged league MVP while leading the Phoenix Accelerators to a D-League title.
Mac Belo has basically won at all levels of his amateur/semi-pro career, and now, the next step is to decide whether to join the PBA Draft, or represent his country in the Gilas Pilipinas Cadet pool.
To say that Belo has improved a lot from his early days in FEU might be an understatement. While he can still get better, a frightening prospect for his opponents, his game has been pro-ready since last season.
Plenty of teams would snap him up no questions asked for the PBA. And they’d be paying him handsomely to ball for them, too. However, he could join an elite group tasked to wear “PILIPINAS” on the front of his jersey, something not everyone gets to do.
Admittedly, representing the country would still be a possibility if he jumped to the PBA already, but being a part of the cadet team would allow him to improve within an international context. Those are skills that could take him to another level completely, and he’ll be a better pro because of them, when he gets that shot.
Mac Belo has shown has what he can do on the floor, and how hard he’ll work to get even better. For me, it goes without saying that Belo will be successful no matter what path he takes. Whatever he chooses, it’ll be a win-win situation for him.