It was a triple celebration for Ian Sangalang Wednesday evening
On the day of his 26th birthday, Magnolia Hotshots big man Ian Sangalang was able to help his team take a 108-95 win over the Alaska Aces to open their 2017-18 Philippine Cup campaign.
“Happy ako. Kumbaga yun na yung hiningi kong gift,” said the fourth-year pro, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. “Kailangan namin ng good start.
“Every game counts talaga, kaya kailangan namin makuha itong game na ito.”
Beyond the personal victory, what made this night special for the native of Lubao, Pampanga was seeing a familiar face on the other side of the court. Making his Alaska debut was Ronald Pascual, a player he went to war with during their days with the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags.
And there were only a few signs of rust for Pascual as he banged bodies with Magnolia’s big men. The 29-year-old finished the game with seven points, four rebounds, and a steal in 16 minutes of action.
As he watched Pascual, Sangalang could not help but be proud of his brother-in-arm. Moreover, he personally wants this season to be Pascual’s redemption year.
“Sobrang happy ako kay Ronald dahil ginawa niya yung best nya para makabalik siya,” said Sangalang after the bout. “Siguro nafrustrate lang siya nung namatay ang daddy niya, pero happy ako na nakabalik siya.
“Nakikita ko sya inside the court, nakakapaglaro na siya. Sobrang happy ako na blessed siya until now.”
“He’s actually a really good guy,” added Alaska head coach Alex Compton. “[And] he’ll keep getting better. Like every player he’ll have good games, he’ll have some tough ones, I thought for him comign back today was a good start, and I think he’ll continue to improve.”
December 20, 2017 will definitely be a day Sangalang will never forget.