IAN Sangalang is skipping a much-needed vacation for a chance to represent the country in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Asia Pacific leg in Manila on July 19-20 at SM Megamall.
Sangalang said the opportunity to be reunited with former San Sebastian teammate Calvin Abueva in the tournament prompted him to suit up and defer for a moment a well-deserved rest after playing a key role in San Mig Coffee’s grand slam season in the PBA.
“Nag-meet na din kami last Friday nung mag-practice kami sa Ultra (Philsports Arena),” Sangalang told Spin.ph on Monday. “Masaya ako kasi magkakasama uli kami.”
The 6-foot-1 Abueva along with Sangalang and deadly gunner Ronald Pascual formed the dreaded 'Pinatubo Trio' during their playing days with the Stags in the NCAA.
The trio, who all hail from Pampanga, were supposed to play together in one of four local teams for the two-day tournament. But Sangalang said Pascual couldn’t be reached.
Sangalang and Abueva instead, will now have bruising Alaska forward Vic Manuel and Gilas cadet pool member Jake Pascual as teammates in the 3x3 competition to be held in Manila for the first time.
“Sayang nga, parang reunion na sana kaming tatlo, pero di ma-contact si Ronald,” added the 22-year-old Sangalang, who averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 71 games for the Mixers in his rookie season.
Although he’s had some tough hardcourt skirmish with Abueva in the pro league, Sangalang said his respect for the flamboyant Alaska forward remains high owing to his dedication to the game.
“Hindi ko lang naman siya tinuring na teammate, pero kaibigan ko talaga yun (Abueva). Saka wala naman sa akin yung antics niya,” added the one-time NCAA Most Valuable Player.
Another Philippine team competing will feature GlobalPort rookie gunner Terrence Romeo, who will be teaming up with Talk ‘N Text shooter Nino Canaleta, NLEX’s Aldrech Ramos, and Meralco’s high-flying wingman Rey Guevarra.
Twelve teams will comprise the Asia Pacific leg of the tournament, with the champion team gaining a spot in the World Tour final in October to be held in Tokyo.