REIGNING NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang has confirmed that he is foregoing his final playing year in the collegiate ranks, saying he is not as confident with San Sebastian now that main benefactor Dennis Pineda has parted ways with the school.
“Ayoko naman kasi na `yung exit ko mapasama pa. Baka next year kahit Final Four di pa kami makapasok,” Sangalang told Spin.ph.
“Kasi hindi ko na alam, kasi pag sina Mayor ang may hawak sa Baste confident ako. Eh ngayon di ko na alam,” added the NCAA's top center, who has left the Stags' quarters and moved to Ortigas.
“Umalis na ako sa Baste at malabo na din na bumalik pa ako doon,” he said.
The changes to the San Sebastian athletic program — the Stags are apparently eyeing a top-to-bottom shuffle of the coaching staff — have made a major impact on Sangalang’s career path, but the NCAA MVP is willingly adjusting his plans in support of his longtime benefactor.
“Si Mayor kasi sobrang bait niyan, mula sa umpisa siya na ang tumutulong sa akin. Wala siyang hinihingi na kapalit. Kahit ngayon, o kahit mag-PBA pa ako, wala yan hihingin kahit sampung piso. Basta gusto niya lang makatulong.”
The 6-foot-6 Sangalang is now focusing on further developing his game in the PBA Developmental League in preparation for next year's PBA draft.
“Desisyon ko na umalis na. Yung pag-alis ni Mayor (Pineda), since aalis na siya, kaya aalis na din ako sa Baste,” Sangalang said.
“Balak ko ngayon tapusin ko muna ang D-League ko, tapos pa draft na ako sa PBA.”
The 21-year-old center from Lubao also noted that with former NCAA MVP Calvin Abueva now a star rookie in the PBA and Ronald Pascual likewise priming himself up for the pros by seeing action in the D-League, the Stags face an uncertain future.
Coach Allan Trinidad and his staff are now also out of the squad.
“Iniisip ko baka mapasama pa (kung maglalaro next year at final year ko na yun),” said Sangalang, without elaborating.
“Wala na din si Ronald, wala na din si Calvin.”
In the last five years that Pineda has backed the team, the Stags won one NCAA title and four championships in other tournaments.