BIG man Ian Sangalang hopes it will still not be too late for him to rejoin Gilas Pilipinas and be part of the national team out on a challenging mission to bring the country back in the Olympics.
Sangalang admitted his struggle to get back in top form following the ACL injury he suffered last year has been the biggest stumbling block from attending the weekly practice of the national squad as part of the original 17-man pool of coach Tab Baldwin.
In the few times he was present during the Monday night practices of Gilas, the lanky slotman out of San Sebastian said he’s still feeling his way back then after being out of action for more than a year.
“Dati kasi nung nag-start akong mag-practice (sa Gilas), di pa ako confident. Tapos may swelling pa ‘yung tuhod ko. So sa isip ko, parang hindi pa okay,” said Sangalang following his16-minute stint in the Hotshots’ 122-103 win over Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night.
Although he’s now back in the active roster of Star, the lanky slotman out of San Sebastian said he hasn’t yet fully gotten into the same shape that allowed him to become a significant player on the year the Hotshots won a grand slam two years ago under former coach Tim Cone.
But he’s well on his way, Sangalang added.
“Yung injury ko, ok na. After a few months, nakita ko na lumakas na. Na-feel ko sa practice, na-feel ko sa game. Konting-konting time na lang. Konting pa-kundisyon pa, darating na tayo doon,” he said.
“Nakabalik na ako. Konting-konting confidence na lang para bumalik dun sa dati.”
Shortly after its latest practice, Baldwin did confirm Sangalang’s health and his confidence have been the issues hounding the former UAAP MVP in his possible stint with Gilas, which has been preparing as early as November in its campaign for the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Sangalang said he has yet to sit down with Baldwin to discuss his situation with the national team.
“About Gilas, hindi pa kami nag-uusap. Pero sana maintindihan nila ako, kung ano yung (kundisyon ko) ngayon,” he stressed.
Asked if he’ll be back with Gilas, Sangalang couldn’t give a direct answer.
“Depende kung ano ang magiging sitwasyon,” he said without further elaborating.