IAN Sangalang proved to be the silver lining for Magnolia in its 84-80 loss to San Miguel Beer in Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday night with his audacious play on both ends of the floor.
Coming off his worst performance in the Finals in Game Three where he contributed only six points on 2-of-10 shooting in 31 minutes, the Hotshots rising star bounced back by churning out 22 points, 11 boards, and two assists, without a single turnover in over 37 minutes of play.
After his defense on June Mar Fajardo took a toll on his offense, Sangalang managed to adjust this time, as well as to SMB’s defense.
“Siguro oo, kahit papano naka-adjust ako kasi parang hindi ako nanggigil today,” the 26-year-old cager said. “Ginawa ko lang nag-enjoy ako, once mabigyan ako ng pagkakataon, ayun igo-go hard ko lang, ginagawa ko lang kung ano yung dapat kong gawin.”
Sangalang was indeed calm and collected down the stretch as he scored the Hotshots’ last five points – the last three on a three-point play – that pulled his team within two points, 82-80, before they surrendered the result.
The 6-foot-7 former NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian also did a decent defensive job on June Mar Fajardo after the newly minted Best Player of the Conference took 15 shots to reach his 16-point total in almost 41 minutes of play.
And Sangalang is hoping he can continue to juggle his tasks on both ends of the floor in Game Five on Friday when the Hotshots try to stay alive in the series.
“Mahirap sabihin (kung ma-sustain yung performance) eh, kasi unang-una, sa depensa kay June Mar, hindi ka pwede mag-relax,” Sangalang said. “Talagang pag kinuha mo siya, dapat ready ka, kung hindi, foul ka.”
“So ayun, siguro sa depensa, konting diin para may energy pa rin - di naman din pwedeng ibigay lahat sa depensa, para sa may energy pa rin sa opensa. Next game siguro tantsa-tantsa lang kung anong pwedeng gawin,” he added.
Despite falling short of leading the Hotshots to the win, Sangalang is eager to keep making the Beermen bleed for their points – and the championship – in Game Five.
“Di namin dapat ibigay 'to ng ganun ka-easy lang,” the Pampanga native said. “Basta bibigay pa rin namin best namin. One game at a time. 'Pag manalo kami, 'di... Ang gusto lang namin dito, ma-extend namin yung series para may chance pa kami.
“Basta next game nandyan pa rin kami. Bibigay pa rin namin best namin,” he added.