THE sight of Ian Sangalang taking over in the stretch run summed up the story of Rain or Shine losing Game 3 of its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Magnolia on Tuesday night.
Coach Caloy Garcia simplified everything following his team’s 85-74 loss at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, admitting no one among the Elasto Painters was able to stop the 6-foot-7 Sangalang in the endgame of the tightly-fought match.
“They went to (Ian) Sangalang. We have no answer to stop him in the fourth (quarter). He scored 12 in the fourth quarter,” Garcia pointed out.
“I think that was the game when they went to Sangalang and we couldn’t contain him.”
Until he found his rhythm in the final period, Sangalang only had four points and had nothing in the first half as he was outplayed by Rain or Shine counterpart Beau Belga.
But he finished the game strong, and his hook shot off Belga inside the final minute capped his heroics as the Hotshots avoided going 0-3 in the best-of-seven series.
And just when Sangalang was running havoc, that was also the time when the Elasto Painters couldn’t buy a basket.
Rookie Javee Mocon’s three-point play off a Paul Lee foul proved to be Rain or Shine’s final basket, 74-76, with 4:03 remaining.
“I think we just have to learn from this loss especially in the fourth quarter when we only scored 11 points,” said Garcia, whose team was outscored by the Hotshots in the final 12 minutes, 28-11.
“Probably we should also find a way to limit Ian Sangalang.”
Garcia still likes Rain or Shine’s chances though, with the team holding a 2-1 series lead.
“We still remain confident and we’re going to bounce back,” said the Rain or Shine coach.
Game Four is set Sunday also at the Big Dome after the league takes a four-day Lenten break.