Victolero on Sangalang: He's one of the best big men in the PBA

Published July 25, 2021, 10:43 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Magnolia coach Chito Victolero commended Ian Sangalang for the key contributions he’s been posting since the beginning of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.

Magnolia’s Ian Sangalang (center), Ginebra big men Japeth Aguilar (left), and Christian Standhardinger scramble for the loose ball during the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City Sunday, July 25. (PBA)

In three undefeated games, Sangalang is averaging 16.33 points, 5.67 rebounds, and 1.33 blocks.

In Sunday’s 89-79 win against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sangalang scored 17 points, shooting seven-of-16 from the field, to go with three rebounds and a pair of steal and block.

With this consistency and efficiency, Victolero saw how much Sangalang has improved since taking over Magnolia’s coaching duties in the 2016-17 season.

“I’m very proud kay Ian,” said Victolero, who steered the team to a championship in the 2018 Governor’s Cup. “Start nung nag-coach ako dito sa Magnolia, ang laki ng improvement niya. Sobrang taas nung nilalaro niya and he established himself as one of the best big men here in the PBA.

“Although siguro, ‘di lang nakikita ng iba but on our team, we consider him as kung baga franchise na doon sa middle.”

Last season, during the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup bubble conference, Sangalang, a four-time PBA champion, is second next to Paul Lee in terms of the team’s scoring department.

In 10 games, the 29-year-old forward hailing from Lubao, Pampanga posted 14.70 points and 8.30 rebounds to help the Hotshots reach the playoffs.

“We want Ian to be our anchor sa depensa, anchor sa opensa. Doon sa poste and at the same time guto namin tulungan pa si Ian to improve pa kasi batang bata pa… marami pa siya matututunan,” added Victolero.

“Marami pa siyang maitutulong sa franchise and hopefully gumaling pa nang gumaling at tsaka matulungan niya pa ‘yong teammates niya para makuha namin ‘yong goal namin.”

With Sunday’s win, Magnolia is currently tied atop the standings with a 3-0 record along with Rain or Shine.

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