Belo has to get over mental hump regarding injury — Reyes
TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has an ace he just couldn’t pull out of his sleeves just yet.
Not in the Jones Cup Invitational at least.
Mac Belo has gotten very little exposure in this 10-team, nine-nation event, and with two games remaining in the Gilas Pilipinas schedule, the top pick in the last PBA Draft is patiently waiting for his time.
But Reyes feels that the 6-foot-3 former Far Eastern ace is not yet “game ready” after coming off a knee injury that kept him out of play for months.
“I think it’s here,” Reyes said, pointing to his temple when asked what’s bugging Belo. “It’s all psychological for him. We really have to take a look at his progress because he doesn’t seem to be game-ready.”
Reyes put Belo’s name in the 24-man pool for the Fiba Asia Championship in Beirut from August 8-20 and said that he really had plans for Belo specifically for that tournament – which is a lot tougher than the other event a separate Gilas squad will be playing in, the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur from Aug. 19.
It seems that Belo is playing with a hindrance in the way he moved on the floor when he played five minutes in a 91-80 loss to Lithuania on Friday, though the Blackwater forward said that he is 100% prior to coming over.
Most of Belo’s fellow members of the Cadet program, who are in the team playing here, have been tapped for the SEAG, and he could eventually be one of four Cadets playing in Lebanon, the others being Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon and RR Pogoy.
“He is a big part of our plans, especially for the Fiba Asia,” Reyes said. “But we have to minimize our expectations. Hindi puedeng biglain (We can’t force him).”
With less than three weeks before Gilas departs for Beirut, and with the final roster to be sent to Fiba no later than noon time this Tuesday, Reyes will have a lot of thinking to do on whether he takes Belo there.
And Belo would have to hurdle that psychological hump to make the decision easier for Reyes, even in the last two games of the Jones Cup if he gets the chance.
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