MANILA, Philippines—Ian Sangalang has never been an MVP and a champion at the same time… until today (Tuesday), as NLEX swept Cagayan Valley following an 82-71 win in Game 2 of their best-of-three Finals series in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
“Hindi ko naramdaman ito sa collegiate. Nag-champion kami pero hindi naman ako nag-MVP, nag-MVP naman ako pero hindi naman kami nag-champion,” said Sangalang, who was named as the Aspirants Cup MVP before Game 2 tipped off.
“Ngayon naramdaman ko na, pakiramdam ko sobrang saya, wala na akong masabi.”
As if Sangalang needed any validation, the six-foot-six beanpole capped off his consistent play with nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks, including a denial on Eliud Poligrates’ baseline drive that prevented the Rising Suns from closing in with under two minutes left.
“Wala kang masasabi kay Ian, he’s one of the best players in the league,” marveled head coach Boyet Fernandez.
Sangalang admitted there was a lot of pressure on NLEX’s title-retention bid.
“Sobrang pressure sa amin yun kasi sinasabi agad na kami ang mananalo,” he said.
The San Sebastian standout also said being teammates with other college stars challenged him to be the best.
“From the start, nilaro ko lang kung ano yung laro ko, yung confidence na binigay ni coach sa akin every time na pinapasok ako nilalaro ko lang. Go hard lang ako lagi kahit sa practice.”
“Sa lahat ng championship, ito yung pinakamasaya kasi pang-apat na namin at MVP pa ako.”
It was NLEX’s fourth straight PBA D-League title.