IAN Sangalang refused to acknowledge that his absence led to Magnolia’s free-fall in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-7 center has been down with a right wrist injury for more than three weeks now and wouldn’t be available until the early part of July.
Curiously, the Hotshots lost three of their five games in his absence and slipped into the middle of the standings, falling out of a shot at a twice-to-beat-advantage in the quarterfinals.
But Sangalang doesn’t buy the notion that his injury layoff triggered Magnolia's slide.
“Hindi naman siguro dahil sa akin yun,” said the 26-year-old big man from Lubao, Pampanga, who suffered the injury after being hit by Meralco import Arinze Onuaku during their game last May 18 which Magnolia won, 81-79.
The change in import from Vernon Macklin to Curtis Kelly obviously affected the Hotshots, according to Sangalang.
“Nahirapan din naman kami nun, yung import (kasi) hindi nag-fit sa amin,” he said. “Parang nagkapatong-patong lang yung mga trials namin.”
Magnolia split its two games with Kelly on board, while going 1-2 with current reinforcement Justin Jackson.
Sangalang is set to return to active duty for Magnolia’s final two games against NLEX and defending champion San Miguel as he’s looking forward to finally remove the plastic immobilizer on his injured wrist.
“Pag tinanggal na ito siguro puwede na akong mag-practice,” said Sangalang, who keeps himself in shape by running together with the Hotshots during practice.
The former San Sebastian stalwart said Magnolia just needs to win its last two games and look forward to a new start come the quarterfinals.
“Siguro ngayon makapasok lang kami ng quarters, makakahanap din kami ng paraan para maka angat ulit,” he said.