During one PBA game more than 5 years ago, there was an incident involving Beau Belga of the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters and Eman Monfort, who was still with Barangay Ginebra at the time.
Belga was found guilty of dropping a knee on Monfort, drawing the ire of those following the league. This was apart from the burly center planting a forearm on Mark Caguioa and elbowing Chris Ellis.
One of those upset at the incident was former PBA MVP Ricky Brown, who posed his reaction on Facebook then, questioning Belga’s actions.
“Is this what the PBA has come to? Is this what the PBA fans want to see today? I've got news for you. This is NOT basketball at a high level and is an embarrassment to Philippine basketball. Disgraceful,” Brown wrote at the time.
Fast-forward to the present, Belga was asked about the incident and if he was aware that the “Quick Brown Fox” had made such comments. The Elasto Painters big man acknowledged he did get a message from Brown but did not argue out of respect to the PBA legend.
“On my part, nangyari na ’yun. Nag-sorry ako and you have to move on. It’s part of a rough day. Pinagbayaran ko naman. I am the type of person na ayoko magpatalo lalong-lalo na sa Ginebra,” Belga said when he appeared on “Sports On Air” Zoomcast.
Belga recalled that game very well. Ginebra fans dominated the arena and he knew they only had a handful of fans in attendance.
“ ’Yung willingness ko lang manalo at that time . . . You will hear the whole arena was against us. Talagang gusto ko lang patunayan sa kanila na di niyo kami pwede basta-bastahin na lalaban kami. Wala pa yata sa 50 fans namin noon. The whole Cuneta Astrodome kalaban mo,” he remembered.
More than four years later, Belga finally answered when asked if he would accept an invite by Brown for a few drinks.
“Open ako for that. For a legend to sit down with me and tell me kung ano mga naranasan niya o natutunan niya in the past is really a compliment for me,” Belga said.
As for Brown, it appears he has followed Belga’s career since then. He was impressed with the evolution of the wide-bodied player and lauded him for becoming the player that he is right now.
Like Belga, Brown has toned down his stand from 5 years ago and now understands where the player was coming from.
Below is Brown’s full message addressing Belga in that particular game:
“When Beau lost his cool against Ginebra several years ago, yes, it was not good optics and he very well knows that. I can only imagine what was being said to him by opposing fans and he obviously felt the need to reciprocate. As a former player, I have lots of pride in having played in the PBA. How others view the PBA as a legit professional league is very important to me and should always remain a core value to all the league's stakeholders.
“Quality, Respect, and Professionalism are important descriptors that I love to hear about my former league and its players. I also know how unfair critics can be. Especially those 'experts' who learned the game from a book or videos but have no idea what it takes to do what we do on the basketball court at a high level.
“But regarding this incident with Beau, I was wrong to call him out as I did. It's not my place to do that and I especially regret doing it on a public forum. That is not the norm for me to do something publicly like that and I should have reached out privately at best or even better yet, kept my mouth shut. The last thing I want to do is to bring any heat to any of my fellow PBA players. I always saw us players as members of a very exclusive fraternity that not just anyone can join and one that demands its members to always respect and support one another to the fullest.
“Therefore, I apologize to Beau and his family for what I said. I was wrong and out of bounds. I know how personal things can get from the fans to the players because of the passion that flows deeply in that electric environment. Nobody's perfect, and God knows how many mistakes I made during my basketball career that I wished I could have had done differently, but the last thing I needed was some 'OG' calling me out.
“I appreciate the respect shown to me by Beau, but it's important for me to let him know that I was in the wrong. My apologies to you and your family, Mr. Belga. If and when we ever meet in person, I look forward to shaking your hand and let you know those sentiments first-hand. All the Best to you for a continued great PBA career. Peace. – RB.”
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