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NU's Belen plays through back pain in breakthrough win vs La Salle

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
NU's Belen plays through back pain in breakthrough win vs La Salle

MANILA, Philippines – National University’s Bella Belen admitted playing through nagging pain as she recovered from a quiet game in the Lady Bulldogs’ crucial four-set win over defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers on Sunday night.

Belen finished with 14 points in NU’s first win over La Salle since Season 84, which also propelled the Lady Bulldogs to a share of the top spot in the standings with a 10-2 slate. In the game prior against Ateneo, she only had two points because of the pain.

After Sunday’s victory, Belen said she was simply psyching herself up to avoid focusing on the pain.

“Before po kasi sa training, meron pa rin, pero as a psychology student, it’s all in the mind. Kaya pag tinatanong ako ng coach ko kung masakit likod ko, sinasabi ko na lang hindi,” Belen said with a cheeky smile.

“Feeling ko the more na iisipin ko na masakit, the more siya magiging hindrance sa paglalaro ko. So as a psychology student, it’s all in the mind,” she added.

Belen is one of the consistent sources of offense for the Lady Bulldogs, as she’s also in the running for Season MVP.

But more than her own numbers, the former Rookie Most Valuable Player said she was simply motivated to give her best, which helped her overcome the still-present pain.

“At siguro dahil na rin sa adrenaline at na-feel ko yung support ng bawa’t isa sa amin. Kung may masakit man o wala, talagang binigay yung best. ‘Di lang naman ako yung may nararamdaman sa katawan,” she said.

Knowing that her teammates as well are feeling the effects of the late stretch of the season, Belen simply wants to be able to pull her own weight.

“Siyempre, yung iba meron ding masakit pero talagang nakita kong [lahat] nag-perform nang maayos kanina na talagang 100% yung katawan namin, parang ganun yung nangyari kanina,” Belen said.

Before they can think about the Final Four and the championship, though, Belen and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs will need to finish off their elimination round on a high.

They face the Adamson Lady Falcons for their penultimate elimination match on Saturday, April 20, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

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