IAN Sangalang doesn’t mind being constantly on the receiving end of Beau Belga’s rough plays – as long as Magnolia ends up on the winning end.
The Magnolia and Rain or Shine big men once again got entangled in a physical play late in Game Seven of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday night that ended with the Hotshots hacking out a 63-60 win to advance to the finals.
Sangalang was hardly surprised that Belga engaged him in another physical battle even with the game almost decided.
“Well, ganun talaga. Ganun talaga siya eh,” Sangalang said. “Sa'kin wala naman yun eh.”
Good thing the Magnolia center had the last laugh as the Hotshots climbed from a 17-point hole to frustrate the E-Painters in overtime of the sudden death.
“Kung tirahin niya ko eh di sige lang. Panalo naman ako ngayon,” Sangalang said.
The 6-foot-7 slotman, who finished with 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting, 15 rebounds, and three blocks in 35 minutes, admitted it took a lot for the Hotshots to dispatch the E-Painters in the deciding game to get rewarded with a return trip to the championship round.
“Sobrang hirap, kitang kita naman sa game eh,” Sangalang said. “Sobrang hirap pero ngayon sobrang sarap naman na makarating ka ulit ng Finals.”
“Na-achieve namin yung goals namin ulit na kahit from the start, sobrang hirap ng start namin,” he added.
But Sangalang knows the hardest part is still coming – facing the defending champion Beermen in rematch of the title series in the last all-Filipino conference that SMB closed out in five games.
“Mahirap pero ako, naniniwala ako na pag lumaban kami, pwede kaming manalo, pwede rin kaming matalo,” Sangalang said. “Well, makikita na lang namin siguro yung dadalin lang namin dito yung sinasabi namin lagi na ‘We believe.’”
“Pag tuluy-tuloy kaming naniwala, siguro may chance kami talaga na magchampion,” he concluded.