Deagu Korea Gas Corporation has reinforced its roster in the Korean Basketball League by signing Ateneo Blue Eagle cager Sam Josef Belange l to a two-year contract.
The 22-year-old Belangel, who still has two playing years left in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, is in Korea with the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team.
An official of KOGAS said they originally wanted to get Philippine Basketball Association standout Robert Bolick, but team officials opted for Belangel instead in compliance with the rules under the Asian Quota system.
Under the rules, both parents must be Filipino nationals and this left Bolick out of the picture, said KOGAS director Yoo Yoo-hoon in a statement released to the Korean media.
KOGAS officials hinted that more negotiations to have Filipino pro players in the PBA and others leagues in the Philippines are already going on.
Gilas is set to have a tuneup with the Korean national team in Anyang this Friday and Saturday and they won’t be joined by Belangel and Angelo Kouame, who are bothered by injuries.
The 5’10” Belangel is nursing an ankle injury, while Kouame is dealing with a meniscal sprain and a partial ACL tear, according to officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Belangel, who started playing for the Blue Eagles in Season 81, averaged 10.26 points, 2.65 rebounds and three assists on his final year.
Yoo said they will consider a third season for Belangel once he is done with his first two years with the club.
“At first (Belangel) wanted a three-year contract. The potential is high, but it is not entirely without risk. Whether you can adapt to KBL is important. Unlike domestic players, Belangel also includes additional expenses such as accommodation. We talked about this and negotiated a salary. He is playing for the national team and going abroad, so we agreed accordingly. It is difficult to say an exact salary at the moment because another club is negotiating (with a Filipino player),” added Yoo.
Yoo said they are open to making Belangel available to play for Gilas in the future.