Yeng Guiao offers Mac Belo chance to reboot once promising career
Mac Belo, once touted as a top prospect after a starring role in the collegiate ranks, will get his chance at revitalizing his Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) career after being acquired by Rain or Shine in a trade with Meralco on Thursday.
“I hope this will be beneficial to him and of course to us,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told the Inquirer.
The Elasto Painters got Belo in exchange for Norbert Torres in a one-for-one deal approved by the league’s trade committee—and the swap could be beneficial for both sides moving forward.
Guiao said the Painters sought out the deal after looking closely at the versatile forward.
“He was benched a lot but that was because he was injured. But we had our sources telling us that he was okay already and we asked Meralco if he was available. They said he was,” Guiao said.
The trade may work wonders for Belo, whose two-year stint with the Bolts has been forgettable to say the least. His opportunity to regain his confidence will rest on whether he can impress coach Guiao, regarded for honing players that are diamonds in the rough.
“All we can really do is give him a chance,” Guiao added. “The rest is up to him.”
Belo joined Meralco in February 2021 after being dealt by Blackwater, the team that drafted the versatile forward out of Far Eastern University (FEU) through a special draft for amateurs who were part of the Gilas Pilipinas program five years earlier.
Expected to shore up the Bolts roster, the minutes of the Midsayap, North Cotabato, native dwindled in his two-year stay, and he appeared in only nine games during the 2022-23 season.
It was a huge contrast to his UAAP days when he carried FEU to its final title to date in 2015, earning Finals Most Valuable Player honors after the Tams defeated University of Santo Tomas.
To get Belo, Rain or Shine had to give up Torres, who gradually improved during his five-year stay with the team. Meralco will be the fifth team of the ex-La Salle cager.
Known for being a solid front-line presence with a soft perimeter touch, Torres hopes to boost the big man corps of Meralco, which seeks to finally land a first-ever PBA championship.
“We believe that he will make a positive impact on the team, and we look forward to working with him as we prepare for the upcoming season,” the Bolts said after the deal was announced.
In the meantime, the two players will try to take advantage of the upcoming PBA on Tour exhibition series to find their way into their team’s main rotation.
Blackwater and NLEX open the two-month series on Sunday in Caloocan City.