Ian Sangalang believes that Magnolia was able to accomplish its goal by beating TNT in Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Friday night.
The 6-foot-7 slotman said that the Hotshots aimed to bring the pressure over to the Tropang Giga after their 108-96 loss in the series opener last Wednesday, and felt that they did so after leveling the affair through a 92-88 escape.
“Yun lang naman ‘yung gusto namin eh, mabalik ‘yung pressure sa kanila, itong Game Two na ‘to. Para makaramdam naman sila kahit papano ng pressure,” he said moments after the match at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Sangalang and Co. were definitely glad to come out with the win, which was their first against the MVP Group’s crown jewel since a thrilling 96-93 squeaker in the 2021-22 Governors’ Cup elimination round last February.
But definitely, the series-tying win didn’t come easy. Magnolia needed a bit of aid from Lady Luck after seeing their 19-point lead become just two, 90-88, following Kelly Williams’ three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left.
The Hotshots almost gave the Tropa another opportunity to come closer when Roger Pogoy stole the ball away from Mark Barroca upon receiving the baseline inbound pass of Sangalang, but was caught stepping on the line.
Barroca and, later on, Calvin Abueva split their respective trips to the charity stripe, eventually settling the final count and securing the win.
Sangalang himself also had a hand in repelling the opposition during that fiery exchange in the final stanza, including the lay-up that gave them a 90-84 edge with 1:27 remaining before the last-ditch attempt of TNT.
“Nung fourth quarter na ‘yun, parang wala pa ata akong nashu-shoot nun. So yung dalawang huli, yun lang yung na-shoot ko,” said Sangalang, who finished with 20 points on 45-percent shooting from the field and eight rebounds.
“Sa isip ko, kailangan ko na talaga i-level up ‘yung laro ko rito sa fourth quarter na ‘to. Makaisa man ako o dalawa, malaking tulong na para sa amin.”
Really though, it was their faith not only in the system but in their ability to come out victorious against the same team that crushed their Philippine Cup title hopes last season that did wonders, Sangalang offered.
“Since nakapag-start kami ng maganda, ayun, naramdaman nila siguro ‘yung pressure. Nagkaroon kami ng chance na makadikit sa kanila. Kasi iniisip lang namin mag-enjoy kami every game kasi wala namang mawawala sa’min.
“Ginawa lang namin ‘yung part namin ngayong Game Two — kung ano ‘yung game plan namin naniwala kami; and naniwala kami sa sarili namin na mananalo kami,” said the nine-year veteran.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.