IAN Sangalang finally got a taste of what to expect in a Philippine Basketball Association game.
The rookie big man suited up in San Mig Coffee’s tune-up game against Globalport and expectedly got a fitting introduction to the physicality of a pro league game.
But Sangalang is not complaining.
“As usual, andyan ang banggaan. Nasampolan na ako ni Jondan (Salvador). Alam mo naman 'yun. Pero hindi ako natatakot,” said Sangalang, the year’s second overall rookie pick.
“Hindi naman ako mamatay sa banggaan lang eh.”
Sangalang had to play extra minutes in the 92-89 win as he filled in the vacuum left by the absence of veteran Marc Pingris. He finished with eight points.
Salvador, an eight-year pro veteran, admitted Sangalang is still hesitant to come out of his shell.
“Kulang pa sa angas eh. Parang nahihiya pa na nangangapa pa. Pero may potensyal `yung bata,” said the Batang Pier bruiser.
Salvador did praise Sangalang’s athleticism which is rare for a big guy, stressing the former San Sebastian star plays much like the Pinoy version of Tim Duncan.
“Parang ganun ang kilos niya, fundamentally sound. Simple pero athletic. Hindi siya power pero may finesse,” said the Las Pinas based cager.
“Saka ang maganda kay Ian, kaliwete na may post up move, may hook shot, may jump shot,” added Salvador.
Asked what else is lacking in the 6-foot-5 Sangalang, Salvador said the rookie needs to bulk up and be ready for more physical plays in the pro.
“Bibinyagan at bibinyagan siya sa PBA. Sasaktan at sasaktan siya rito, kaya kailangan tough siya. Kailangan niya magpalaki at magpalakas ng katawan,” added Salvador, who boasts of one of the biggest biceps among PBA players.
Sangalang accepts the challenge and said he is well trained as far as physicality of the game is concerned.
“Dun kami sinanay ni Vice (Pampanga vice-governor Dennis Pineda). Sinalang kami nila Calvin (Abueva) nun sa mga laro sa labas, dun na kami halos lumaki,” he said.
“Siyempre sa mga tulad namin, pag sa ligang labas, ikaw ang pupuntiryahin ng balya at pananakit. Kasi gusto ka nilang masira,” he said. “Kaya handa na tayo dun! Hindi ako uurong.”
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Sangalang also defended his decision to only sign a two-year maximum deal with San Mig Coffee, saying he wants to keep his options open in his junior year.
While the other top rookie picks like Greg Slaughter, James Forrester, and Terrence Romeo signed maximum three-year deals, Sangalang said he opted for a short-term commitment as he wanted to prove his worth.
“Syempre, gusto ko rin i-challenge ang sarili ko. Mas maiksi ang contract, mas hindi ako relaxed. Talagang go hard,” he said.
“Saka isang way na rin `yun para maipakita ko ang worth ko, and ma-review ko rin options ko,” said the rookie, who insisted he’s beginning to become fond with the entire San Mig organization.
Sangalang said he’s now slowly learning the intricacies of the triangle offense under coach Tim Cone.
“OK na nakukuha ko na `yung triangle. Hindi maapektuhan ang laro ko dito. Lalong hindi mababago. Kailangan lang alam mong i-run `yung concept, mas okay nga eh daming options,” he said.