PBA: After tough life stretch, Ian Sangalang eager for comeback
Everything seems to be in order for Ian Sangalang as his much-awaited return to Magnolia is drawing nearer after months of being out dealing with perhaps the most difficult phase of his life.
“It really feels good that I’m close to coming back,” Sangalang said in Filipino after watching the Hotshots’ 99-94 win over the Converge FiberXers in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) On Tour exhibition series on Wednesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Coach Chito Victolero said Sangalang could play in the next two weeks after he was sidelined since the start of last season’s PBA Governors’ Cup due to a thyroid problem.
The illness also took some toll on the southpaw center, who based on social media posts lost a considerable amount of weight.
He also had to deal with the issue surrounding his name being mentioned in a case filed against a Singaporean businessman who allegedly offered to bribe PBA players to fix games during the 2018 season.
The 31-year-old cager has since denied the claims and announced plans to take legal action.
Sangalang has already been attending practices without any limitations, also expressing that fitness won’t be an issue once Victolero taps him on the floor.
“Thank God that things are now okay,” he said. “When I was not with the team, it was really a tough situation. I wanted to play but I couldn’t because of my condition.
“But now that I’m here, I’m really enjoying my time and I’m really excited that I’m close to playing again,” Sangalang added.
Sangalang is not the only player sitting out the early portion of the series as Calvin Abueva and Jio Jalalon are also being given time to heal their minor injuries.
That has allowed Victolero to give his role players some considerable amount of playing time, namely Sangalang’s backup James Laput and new acquisition Abu Tratter.
Magnolia won its first two games in the On Tour, including the match with Converge that looked more like a playoff encounter than an exhibition. Mark Barroca’s jumper in the final seconds helped the Hotshots retake the lead and deny the FiberXers a comeback triumph.