IAN Sangalang admitted his huge task on defense took a toll on his offense in Magnolia's 111-87 loss to San Miguel in Game Three of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday night.
After scoring a career-high 29 points in their Game One win and just 11 points in the Game Two loss, the Hotshots star big man’s offensive production continued to drop, tallying just six points after missing all but two of his 10 shots in 31 minutes of play.
Sangalang admitted defending SMB behemoth June Mar Fajardo took most of his energy and resulted in his lowest output in the series.
“Ah siyempre, yun nga, mahirap na trabaho kasi siyempre June Mar eh, todo-bigay ka sa depensa eh," said Sangalang, who, at 6-7, is still giving up three inches and lot more pounds to the four-time reigning league MVP.
“Siguro one thing na pwede maubos ka, mapapagod ka pero okay ako kasi napapagod ko din si June Mar eh,” he added. “So siguro, yun, kailangan lang talaga ng positive mindset coming to the next game na kahit pagod ka isipin mo na lang na kaya mo pa rin na ‘di ka mapagod.”
Despite Sangalang's solid defensive effort, Fajardo still scattered 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 17 boards, and two assists.
But that won’t stop Sangalang from trying to hold his ground against the SMB superstar – while also regaining his much-needed offensive contribution as the Hotshots seek to tie the best-of-seven series in Game Four on Wednesday.
“Kung ano yung trabaho na binibigay sa akin, siguro gagawin ko kasi offense kanina binibigyan naman ako eh,” the former NCAA MVP out of San Sebastian said. “Pero mahirap lang talaga na makuha kasi may depensa tsaka ready sila.
“So ayun, kung defense man o offense, ready naman ako, pero ready din kasi yung kabila so next game bawi na lang,” he added.
Sangalang struggled coming off the bench for the first time this series, but stressed that it’s their team execution that should improve.
“Siguro yung problema namin dito e...’di lang naman siguro ako,” Sangalang said. “Siguro kailangan talaga namin mag-execute ng mga plays namin, medyo nahihirapan kami sa pag-execute ng mga plays namin.”
“Maganda naman yung pinapakita naming depensa pero siguro nagkulang kami sa offense namin,” he added.