THE NLEX Road Warriors have begun preparations for the 2013 PBA D-League Foundation Cup last Monday, but one man was conspicuously missing: Ian Sangalang.
The agile 6-7 big man from Pampanga, named best player during the Road Warriors' run to the Aspirants Cup title, admitted to Spin.ph on Wednesday that he is now caught in a bind as he is torn between playing for NLEX or joining the new D-League team being put up by his manager Dennis Pineda.
Pineda, son of Pampanga governor Lilia and former mayor of Lubao town, has long been taking care of Sangalang’s career even before the former San Sebastian King Stag made a name for himself in the amateur ranks.
“Nalilito ako ngayon, sobra. Hindi ko alam kung saan ako lulugar, pareho akong may utang na loob,” said Sangalang. “May kontrata ako sa NLEX, hindi ako makaka-alis agad-agad.
“Sabi ko sila na mag-usap usap para hindi ako maipit."
With his towering height, good footwork, and multi-faceted game, Sangalang will definitely be a welcome addition to Pineda’s EA Regenerative Medicine team.
Pineda is also expected to parade a crack team of former San Sebastian Stags which will also see the return to the major leagues of former NCAA superstar Jimbo Aquino.
Aquino, the 2009 NCAA Finals MVP, will be part of Pineda's team along with amateur standouts Dexter Maiquez, Raymond Almazan, Clark Bautista, and John Semira.
Also in the lineup of the team that is eyeing Vergel Meneses as coach are Jeckster Apinan, Paul Sanga, Michael Miranda, Jerry Santos, George Allen, Michael Juico, and AJ Vitug.
Even Sangalang believes the team being put up by his longtime patron is formidable and that he can be an important piece in the lineup.
“Panlaban yung team niya, ako na nga lang daw ang hinihintay nila,” said the 22-year-old Sangalang.