MARC Pingris was hardly worried that Magnolia would miss his presence when he momentarily went back to the dugout to have his bloody cut above his lip cleaned up in the team’s PBA Philippine Cup matchup against Kia on Wednesday night.
The veteran power forward knows the Hotshots were in good hands with Ian Sangalang, who, true enough, torched the Picanto wwith 21 points, nine rebounds two assists, and two steals in just 25 minutes to lead the Hotshots bench mob.
Sangalang’s recent play was enough for Pingris to label him as the next important big man for a team that has had a long line of great big men, Pingris included.
“Si Ian Sanggalang talaga sobrang step up every game,” Pingris said. “Nakikita ko sa kanya siya talaga yung susunod na parang Kerby Raymundo, parang Marc Pingris dati – naks, parang Alvin Patrimonio.”
“Siguro pag nag-retire na kami, alam ko na siya na yung hahawak,” the two-time Finals MVP and three-time Defensive Player of the Year added. “Sinasabihan ko lahat ng big man namin, pero mas puntirya ko talaga si Ian kasi nakikita ko na ang laki na ini-improve niya every game, every practice.”
Pingris eventually returned to the game in the second half and anchored the middle with Sangalang as he shook off a cut suffered in a collision with Kia forward Jackson Corpuz.