WHAT he failed to do in college, Ian Sangalang finally pulled off in the PBA D-League when he was named the Best Player of the Conference to go with the NLEX Road Warriors' conquest of a fourth straight title.
The former San Sebastian star was adjudged as the conference’s top player after posting averages of 13.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and one block per game during the elimination round.
The individual award and the league championship capped a memorable tournament for Sangalang, who was named the NCAA MVP months ago but was left to rue the Stags' failure to win the collegiate title.
“Hindi ko ine-expect ito,” said Sangalang. “Heto ‘yung hinahanap ko sa college. Ngayon, champion pa ako."
He added: “Hindi ko alam kung ano ang i-cecelebrate ko. Kung championship o ‘yung best player. Sobrang saya ko ngayon.”
Sangalang was the second NLEX player to win the Best Player of the Conference award after Cliff Hodge in the 2012 Foundation Cup. Allein Maliksi and Vic Manuel – both of whom are now in the PBA – won the two previous awards for Cebuana Lhuillier.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez was all praises for Sangalang.
“Wala ka nang masabi kay Ian,” Fernandez said. “He is one of our best centers in the league. He really deserves the award.”
After receiving the best player award, Sangalang finished with nine points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in leading the Road Warriors to an 82-71 win over Cagayan Valley in the title-clinching Game Two of the Finals. .