A back injury forced Ian Sangalang to play just 10 minutes in Magnolia Pambansang Manok’s 88-70 loss to TNT in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, coach Chito Victolero said.
Victolero bared in a text message that the Hotshots top big man was dealing with back spasms which also led to the decision to sit out Sangalang for the rest of the second half with the Tropang Giga up by a huge margin.
Sangalang scored just five points before being sent back to the bench with 5:47 left in the second quarter of the match held at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
His injury will likely play a huge role in Magnolia’s bid to beat TNT in the series, with Sangalang being one of the main protagonists.
The eight-year veteran is coming off a splendid semifinal series against Meralco, averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Magnolia’s semis clincher saw Sangalang produce 19 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals and three blocks as the door was slammed shut on Meralco last Oct. 15 with a 93-85 win.
Sangalang is not the only player in the PBA Finals dealing with the same injury as TNT’s Kelly Williams hurt his back while going for a breakaway dunk in the third quarter.
Williams was later brought to the hospital on a stretcher, with Tropang Giga coach Chot Reyes fearing for the worst.