RK Ilagan’s responsibility has grown now that he enters his final year with San Sebastian College-Recoletos.
The diminutive gunslinger is now expected to steer the ship of the young Golden Stags, who are now moving on without former star Allyn Bulanadi now that the athletic winger has graduated.
“We’re still building our character. The key is how RK plays, para susunod ‘yung mga bata,” said coach Egay Macaraya.
The 22-year-old still recalls when he was the youngest in the squad, and now he has become the team’s “kuya”. Nevertheless, Ilagan is up to the task.
“Dati, ako ‘yung pinaka-bata sa team na ito. Ngayon, tinitingala na nila ako na kuya at hinihingan nila ng advice kung ano ang gagawin namin,” said Ilagan, a proud son of Tondo.
“So sa akin lang, kailangan ko lang i-accept ‘yung responsibility as a captain ball to lead the team.”
Ilagan showed that he is more than willing to take on the challenge as the Golden Stags made their 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup debut against AMA Online Senior High, Thursday.
The 5-foot-11 guard set the tone for his side in the first half. He fired 18 points, but his efforts in facilitating his teammates for the best shot possible stood out the most.
Ilagan wound up with 22 points, eight assists, five rebounds, two steals, and a block as the APEX Fuel Mindanao-backed San Sebastian had itself a rousing debut with a 113-67 victory.
For Ilagan, it was a conscious effort on his part to give his younger teammates much-needed confidence.
“Gusto ko lang mabigyan ng kumpyansa ‘yung mga bago namin,” he said.
“‘Yung iba nga, kinakabahan daw. Sa akin lang, kinausap ko lang sila na dapat ready sila at bibigyan ko sila ng bola lagi.”