IF Barangay Ginebra cannot get its hands on Asi Taulava, there is one other big man dreaming of a chance to suit up for the Kings.
His name? Ian Sangalang.
The reigning NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian hopes that if he ends up joining the next PBA rookie draft as planned, he would be picked by the same team he had rooted for growing up.
“Gusto ko nang magpa-draft, at sana Ginebra makakuha sa akin,” said Sangalang, who is expected to be a lottery pick in the draft set on November 3.
“Kung makakapili (talaga) ako ng team, gusto ko Ginebra. Hindi pa ako naglalaro ng basketball, idol ko na sina Mark (Caguioa) at Jayjay (Helterbrand),” added the Pampanga native.
Alaska Aces assistant coach Louie Alas said Sangalang has tremendous upside to his game, as he had seen from his time as Letran coach back when the agile 6-7 slotman was still with the Stags.
“Isa sa sakit ng ulo ko yan. Actually, kapag pumapangit laro niya, dun kami nanalo noon sa Baste (San Sebastian),” recalled Alas.
“Skills? Complete package yang si Ian. Matalino maglaro, 6-7 ang height pero kung tumakbo akala mo 6-2 lang,” added Alas. “Instant double-double yan.”
But Sangalang’s manager, Dennis Pineda, still sees a lot of room for improvement for his ward.
“Kulang pa yan, gusto ko pagpunta niya sa PBA talagang ready na siya,” said Pineda, who is planning to send his player to a big man’s training camp in the US.
The newly elected Pampanga vice governor also bared that he hopes to talk to some PBA teams to allow Sangalang to join them as a practice player.
“May mga kakausapin akong teams, kasi gusto ko mahasa na yung bata - wala kasi siyang lalaruan. Para pag na-draft, ready na siya,” said Pineda, who also handle the careers of Arwind Santos and Calvin Abueva.
Asked on which team he wants to see Sangalang play for when in the PBA, Pineda reiterated his wish in an earlier interview with Spin.ph (For full story, click here).
“Gusto ko sa Ginebra. Nakikita ko kasi doon babagay ang laro niya. Dun siya magagamit ng tama,” said the former Lubao, Pampanga mayor.