By Kevin Sox
Down two games to none in the best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals against Rain or Shine, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok drew strength from one of their most reliable players in the second half to tie the series.
Ian Sangalang, the second overall pick of the loaded 2013 draft class, wreaked havoc in the last two quarters of the game to drop 16 points and 11 rebounds overall as his Hotshots squad beat the Elasto Painters, 85-74 to cut the series deficit down to just 2-1.
Sangalang was a non-factor in the first half, going scoreless, but it seemed he got motivated by words from an all-time PBA great in Marc Pingris, as he told reporters.
“I wasn’t able to do anything in the first half but I just stayed positive and it was Ping who lifted me up,” Sangalang said via Mark Giongco of Inquirer.
As per Sangalang, Pingris, the multi-time national team member and a perennial champion of the Magnolia/San Mig Coffee/B-Meg/Purefoods franchise, told the younger forward to “always stay positive” and that Sangalang would be “able to get into (his) game.”
“I’m so thankful and appreciative how he motivated me. I guess my game tonight was really because of Ping,” Sangalang said later on, per Giongco. “He motivates me all the time.”
Sangalang also noted per Delfin Dioquino of Rappler.com that being down two games in the series was enough motivation to get back and break the ice.
“If we lost again, it would be hard to come back, so we gave ourselves the chance to win,” Sangalang told Dioquino.
The Hotshots used their topnotch defense to stifle Rain or Shine. After the Elasto Painters averaged 88.5 points in their two wins, the Hotshots limited them to only 74 markers.
Game 4 of their series slated on April 22.