WITHOUT question, RK Ilagan is now the main man for San Sebastian.
But more than his shotmaking, what the Golden Stags need from him is to be more of a leader — a challenge he embraced wholeheartedly.
"Dati, ako yung pinakabata sa team na ito. Ngayon, tinitingala na nila ako na kuya at hinihingan nila ng advice kung ano ang gagawin namin," Ilagan reflected on the natural progression of things.
"Sa akin lang, kailangan ko lang i-accept yung responsibility as a captain ball to lead the team."
The 5-foot-11 guard showed he's up to the task, leading Apex Fuel Mindanao-SSCR to a 113-67 thumping of AMA Online Senior High on Thursday in the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
Ilagan scored 18 of his 22 points in the Golden Stags' first half breakaway, but focused more on giving his younger teammates enough touches as they got their feet wet in the developmental ranks.
"Sabi ko gagawin ko na lang mag-create at bigyan ng kumpyansa ang teammates ko," he said as he added eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and one block to his total output.
"Gusto ko lang mabigyan ng kumpyansa yung mga bago namin. Yung iba nga, kinakabahan daw. Pero sa akin lang, kinausap ko lang sila na dapat ready sila at bibigyan ko sila ng bola lagi."
That's exactly what coach Egay Macaraya needed from his veteran sniper as they prepare for the NCAA later this year.
"Nilagay ko sa isip niya na kailangan yung team mag-jell at maging composed. That's why he's not taking too much shots," he shared.
"Kita naman natin yung kaya ng isang RK Ilagan, but now what we want from him is more on leadership. We want us to jell kaya yung mga ginagawa niya is to let the team feel yung composure."
Stil, Macaraya admits that San Sebastian's fate will still largely lie on how far the 22-year-old can take the team.
"We're still building our character. The key is how RK plays, doon susunod yung mga bata," he said.