IAN Sangalang has denied rumors that he will forego a contract renewal with the Star Hotshots to jump ship to Barangay Ginebra, saying he plans to stay put with the PBA ballclub.
Sangalang's two-year contract with the Hotshots expires at the end of August, but the agile 6-foot-7 slotman declared his readiness to sign a new deal with the team that made him the second pick overall of the 2013 rookie draft after Ginebra opted to go for 6-11 Greg Slaughter.
“I think I am staying at Star, wala namang dahilan to leave them. They are preparing a very bright future for me. Kahit na-injure ako, all out sila sa suporta sa akin,” said Sangalang, who is now in the final phase of his recovery from ACL and MCL injuries that forced him to sit out most of the current season.
The former NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian, who won't be activated until next season, was also quick to shoot down talk that he is looking to move to Ginebra.
“No truth to that rumor. Nagulat nga ako kasi may lumabas na ganyan. Nahiya tuloy ako sa management (ng Star) kasi baka isipin nila ganun nga,” he added.
Sangalang was very vocal in his preference to be picked by his 'favorite team' Ginebra when he joined the 2013 draft, but insisted that his loyalty is now with the Hotshots.
“Dati 'nung bata ako gusto ko talaga sa Ginebra. Pero ngayon, andito na ko sa Star and I saw how they utilized me and took care of me, masayang-masaya na ko dito,” he said.
Sangalang has in fact already been briefed about details in his new contract by Star management, and a counter proposal has already been submitted by people representing the 22-year-old rising star.
Lawyer Charlie Chua, Sangalang’s adviser, revealed that they are now waiting for the response of the Hotshots on some minor details of the new contract.
“We’re leaning toward re-signing with Star. Hinihintay na lang namin sagot nila dun sa ilang detalye na hinihingi namin,” said Chua, the most trusted staff of Sangalang’s agent and Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda.
Star team governor Rene Pardo told Spin.ph Sangalang is one player who he considers as non-negotiable and untouchable.
“Ay, very rare gem yang si Ian. He is a big who can post up very well, he is a very good kid and very coachable. He’ll stay with us. His contract extension is now under negotiations,” said Pardo of Sangalang.
“He is part of our future. Ian has a very huge role to play in the future of our team,” he added.
Pardo also laughed off rumors linking the young star to Ginebra, saying Sangalang has never been on the trading block.
“He’s not on the trading block and Tim Cone knows how to use the kid. We’ll keep him,” said Pardo, who bared he immediately talked to Sangalang as soon as the rumors came out.
“Nag-usap na kami, actually pati si Allein Maliksi (na nadawit sa trade rumors) eh kinausap ko rin. I told them na hindi namin gagalawin ang team,” he said.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, nagpapanalo ang team. What’s the purpose of trading players? As long as we are reaping success, we will keep the core of the team intact,” added the amiable Star governor.
Asked about Sangalang's preference for Ginebra prior to the draft, Pardo said, “We believe his loyalty now is with the team. He played a major role in our championships last season. Wala na rin sa kanya 'yun.”