Ian Sangalang eager to prove mettle in big PBA Finals battle vs June Mar Fajardo
Ian Sangalang played big for Magnolia in the semis but will be tested in the finals against June Mar Fajardo. Jerome Ascano

IAN Sangalang may have had his way against Mike Miranda and Raul Soyud in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

The real battle for him, though, comes in the championship series.

The Magnolia Pambansang Manok big man is bracing for a war down low with no less than four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo as Magnolia and three-time reigning champion San Miguel start their best-of-seven finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum this Friday.

Sangalang, who topscored for the Hotshots with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the semis series-clinching win over NLEX Road Warriors, 96-89, on Tuesday night, said he knows it will be his daunting duty to try and stop Fajardo from dominating inside.

“Kilala naman nating lahat si June Mar, sobrang consistent niya at tsaka malaki siya talaga,” he said of ‘The Kraken.’ “At sigurado ako yung kukuha sa kanya.”

 “Pero siyempre I will do my best kasi iba rin naman yung laro sa finals.”

And so before the big battle, the 6-foot-7 native of Lubao, Pampanga will savor even for just a few moments being back in the finals after four years.

Sangalang was a rookie with the Purefoods franchise when the team last played in the finals – the same season when it won the rare grand slam.

“Sobrang sarap kasi ang tagal naming hindi nakabalik sa finals. Sobrang tagal naming mangarap na makalaro ulit sa finals,” he said.

“Now eto na, andito na kami ngayon,’ added the 26-year-old Sangalang. “So kung ano yung kaya naming gawin, iga-grab namin yun.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos