Hotshots aim to keep rolling as Sangalang finds its form again

Apr 19, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – Ian Sangalang is returning to Magnolia in the manner that the team has grown accustomed to, although gradually.

Just a few nights prior, Sangalang had set a career-high scoring mark with 32 points against a fiery NorthPort team. On Sunday, he led the Hotshots to a 107 to 93 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters with 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

Due to a thyroid issue, Magnolia had to lose Sangalang, but upon his comeback, they gradually increased his playing time. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Press Corps just awarded him Player of the Week.

We never hurried him, according to coach Chito Victolero.

“All we wanted was for him to return, although gradually. Ian wasn’t under any pressure from us at that moment. Our wish was that he would restore his self-assurance and discipline. We anticipated that he would be important to us upon his return because he is our greatest post-up player,” he continued.

“We have that right now.”

This Wednesday, when Magnolia plays Blackwater in the first round of the PBA Philippine Cup, the team hopes to take full advantage of a unique opportunity with its star big man back in form.

In the 7:30 p.m. game, the Hotshots will have an opportunity to bolster their campaign for a secure postseason spot—and even twice-to-beat protection. face the Bossing, who have lost three straight games in the league’s championship tournament and are now a shadow of their former self.

Magnolia hopes to win the game at Ninoy Aquino Stadium, and if their victory on Sunday night is any guide, they won’t be taking anything lightly.

Cornerback Mark Barroca, who led the team in the win over Phoenix despite having a broken hand, stated, “You need to be confident with no hesitation. When there’s an opportunity, you take it.”

Rain or Shine aims to accomplish the same thing when it plays another struggling team in NorthPort in the curtain-raiser. A victory by Magnolia would push the club’s winning streak to three games and help it move away from a difficult start to the conference.

Following their 116 to 104 victories over Terrafirma, which extended their winning streak to four games, the 4 to 4 (win-loss) Elasto Painters will be riding high.

Fascinatingly, the Dyip has lost two straight games; it appears that the Bossing and the Batang Pier, who were all performing excellently at the beginning of the conference, are following the same pattern. 

Even without Malonzo, Kings was determined to fight Tropa

Jamie Malonzo’s Achilles injury was ruled out, which was wonderful news.

Malonzo, however, is expected to miss a month of play due to a calf injury, which would cost Barangay Ginebra a significant player on Friday when the Kings play the TNT Tropang Giga in a crucial match at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig. 

With both teams pressing their drives in the latter half of the PBA Philippine Cup quarter final phase, Ginebra’s never-say-die mentality and next-man-up mantra will be put to the test one more when the Kings square off against the Tropang Giga at 7:30 p.m. Amid a packed field of teams engaged in a fierce competition for the two twice-to-beat berths in the quarterfinals, coach Tim Cone and his wards are at 5 to 3, while coach Chot Reyes and his soldiers are at 4 to 3.

At 5 to 0, San Miguel Beer leads the field, followed by NLEX at 5 to 2, Magnolia at 4 to 2, Ginebra as well as TNT, who have a slim advantage over the Rain or Shine team, which is rallying, at 5 to 4.

Malonzo will not play for Ginebra on Sunday at Ninoy Aquino Stadium since he had to be helped to their locker room following a bizarre collapse that occurred in the last seconds of their 95 to 88 victory over NorthPort Batang Pier.Even so, having just won two straight games, the Kings and the Tropang Giga prepare for a decisive battle.

“At this point in time, he’ll be out of commission for a minimum of a couple of days. Hoping that it does not extend,” Cone stated.

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