IT'S been a while since Ian Sangalang had this kind of game, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Star Hotshots.
The four-year pro topscored with 14 points in the team's 88-77 win over TnT Katropa that enhanced the Hotshots' quarterfinals bid in the PBA Philippine Cup Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sangalang, the second pick overall of the 2013 PBA rookie draft, suffered a knee injury that derailed his rise as one of the league's premier big men and struggled to grasp the system of new coach Chito Victolero.
The smooth-moving big man from Pampanga, however, is starting to regain his footing, as shown by the game against TNT where he had a hot start before scoring half of his output in the second half.
The former San Sebastian stalwart admitted the Hotshots have yet to fully grasp the system implemented by Victolero, but believes the team is bound to get even better in due time.
"Nag-a-adjust pa rin kasi hndi pa naman yun ang laro namin," said Sangalang. "Pero konti-konti ma-a-adapt din namin yung sistema ni coach."
That system puts premium on defense, which the Hotshots did against the Texters who they held to their lowest output in the confefence.
"Sabi nga ni coach it's our defense against their offense. So kailangan talunin namin sila ng depensa namin" said the Star big man, noting the Hotshots held the Texters to 40 percent shooting and forced them to 21 turnovers.
The win evened the Hotshots' record to 4-4, tied with four other teams in the standings in the heated race for quarterfinals berths.
They next face Blackwater, which is currently in fourth place with a 5-4 record.
"We just have to be consistent on defense and (limit) yung turnovers namin," he said. "And we can't take our next game for granted dahil kagagaling lang din nila (Elite) sa panalo."