By NICK GIONGCO
Manila, Philippines – Number doesn’t concern Ian Sangalang who nevertheless has his sights on Barangay Ginebra, a boyhood favorite. “Wala sa akin ‘yun… 1, 2, 3. Maski 10th pick pa, OK lang,” said Sangalang, one of the established hopefuls in the PBA rookie draft set Nov. 3 at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.
Sangalang is one of two players reportedly being eyed by Ginebra – the other is seven-footer Greg Slaughter.
The six-foot-seven Pampangueño said Ginebra has been his favorite team since his grade school days, but won’t mind playing for another team.
“Fan lang kasi talaga ako ng Ginebra,” said the 24-year-old Sanggalang, who played for Ginebra coach Ato Agustin with the SSC Stags that won the NCAA championship against the San Beda College Red Lions in 2009.
“Kung kunin nila ako, siyempre masaya kasi parang dream come true. Pero kung sa iba ako mapunta, walang problema naman. Parehas pa din, ibibigay ko pa din ‘yung best ko sa team na kukuha sa akin,” added Sanggalang.
The pressure too, Sanggalang said, will be the same whether he lands as the No. 1 pick or not.
“Siyempre may mga expectations ‘yung mga fans sa’yo, dahil nga rookie ka. Kahit No. 1 pick or hindi, pressure pa din. Kasi PBA na ‘yan, dapat may maippakita ka, may maibu-buga ka. Ibang level na labanan dito, mas malalaki ang kalaban,” he said.
Some basketball observers liken him to former PBA four-time MVP Ramon Fernandez because of his finesse, soft touch from the perimeter, quickness and ability to play defense. Hiss former San Sebastian mentor Topex Robinson agrees to these observations.
“I think the reason why people are comparing him with Fernandez is because his every move, both on offense and defense are calculated. He doesn’t rush things, even if he’s pressured, he knows what to do and his movement is minimal but very effective,” said Fernandez.
“He is smart, he’s a thinking player. He’s post up player (with back against the basket), but he has developed his face up move. He’s also confident enough to bring the ball down when necessary. He’s not just a one-dimensional player.”