THREE years after his recovery from a knee injury derailed his Philippine team aspirations and Ian Sangalang is back wearing the national tri-colors.
The Magnolia slotman was one of the 16 players coach Yeng Guiao called up and the Kapampangan bruiser is just elated for the rare chance.
"Sobrang sarap na maging part ng Philippine team. Lahat naman dream makapaglaro sa Pilipinas," he said. "It's an opportunity na makapaglaro ako dito at sana makatulong ako."
Sangalang's inclusion is a long time coming as he follows the footsteps of his former San Sebastian cohorts Calvin Abueva and Ronald Pascual in representing the country. Finally, the Pinatubo Trio can say that all of them have donned the national team jersey for once in their careers.
But though neither Abueva or Pascual are part of this new batch, Sangalang believes that he can quickly mesh well with his new Team Philippine squadmates, with a number of familiar faces joining him on the court.
"Sobrang laking advantage na yung ibang kasama ko dito, okay na yung chemistry namin," he said, partnering with current Hotshots teammate Paul Lee and now-Blackwater sniper Allein Maliksi.
"Matutunan na lang namin yung sistema ni coach Yeng, siguro wala na magiging problema. Sobrang dali lang naman eh. Napaka-adjustable. Para sa akin, madali naming matututunan. Kailangan lang ready ka physically at mentally sa practice."
Sangalang also enjoyed the fierce competition among this team's big men as he jukes it out in practice with guys like Greg Slaughter, Christian Standhardinger, Asi Taulava, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, and JP Erram, expressing his confidence on the capability of the players Guiao will choose for this September window.
"Usually, lahat naman na napili, magaling. Ako, mapasama lang sa pool, thankful na ako," he said.
"Kung ano lang ang maitutulong ko, pag nakapasok ako sa Final 12, swerte na lang sa akin yun. Lahat naman gusto maglaro. Ano man ang mangyari, nandito lang ako, magpa-practice lang ako at gagawin ko yung best ko, kung ano ang maitutulong ko."