NOT that he’s using it as an excuse, but Ian Sangalang believes that getting an import which will last for the entirety of the conference should be the first order of business for Magnolia.
“Ngayon pa lang ngayong nasa bakasyon kami, kailangang tingnan na namin talaga kung sino yung mag-start sa amin na import para hanggang dulo siya na yung tatapos. Hindi pwede yung kumuha ka ng player tapos papalitan na naman,” he said.
“Siguro yun muna yung focus namin, kumuha ng import na madadala kami kung saan kami pwedeng idala. Yung maglalaro siya at ibibigay talaga niya yung best niya para sa amin.”
The Hotshots had to change imports four times this 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, a record only reached only seven times before.
Vernon Macklin started off the conference for Magnolia, but after four games, he had to leave for China. Replacement Curtis Kelly hardly made a mark in his two games, while Justin Jackson, though effective on the defensive end, was lacking on offensive firepower.
Tried-and-tested import Wayne Chism was his usual self, but still failed to help Magnolia overcome the two-seed Alaska in the quarterfinals, 89-78 on Tuesday.
Thus, for the first time in five conferences, the Hotshots won’t be in the Final Four.
Despite that turnstile of reinforcements for Magnolia, Sangalang was proud of how his team performed and even made a late run to the playoffs.
“Ganun naman talaga eh. We gave our best, naglaro kami ng maayos, pero talo kami. Credit to Alaska kasi sobrang ganda ng preparation nila para sa amin. Pero talo kami, so move on na kami coming into the next conference na lang,” the 26-year-old center said.
But this shortcoming only fuels Sangalang and the rest of the Hotshots to perform better in the season-ending conference.
“Sobrang hirap na ngayon, hindi kami nakarating sa semis na gusto naming marating. Pero next conference, motivated kami na kailangan makabalik kami ng semis. Hindi na pwedeng mahulog ulit kami ng ganito. So yun, laro lang kami next conference,” he said.
“Basta makakuha kami ng magandang import, lalaban lang kami," he ended.