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Sangalang looking forward to future duels vs Fajardo

11:30 PM April 07, 2018

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.NET

In the five games that San Miguel and Magnolia played in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, there was one player for the Hotshots who had left an indelible imprint in the minds of the basketball-watching community.

And that player was veteran center Ian Sangalang.

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Throughout the series, Sangalang matched up with the bigger June Mar Fajardo and although the Hotshots ultimately lost the title in a 108-99 double overtime thriller in Game 5, it fittingly became the stage that the former San Sebastian Stag used on his way to mainstream consciousness.

Sangalang averaged 15.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in the title series including a career performance of 29 points and nine boards in the opener won by Magnoloa, 105-103.

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“This series really brought out the best in me because my matchup was June Mar,” said Sangalang in Filipino Friday at Mall of Asia Arena. “He’s so difficult to guard, but I know I gave my best and my whole effort throughout the series.”

Listed at 6-foot-7 and 216 pounds, Sangalang is three inches shorter and 54 lbs lighter than Fajardo and the disparity showed.

Fajardo averaged 24.4 points, 16.2 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks, capping off his performance with a preposterous 42-point, 20-rebound Game 5 en route to a Finals MVP trophy.

Sangalang believes his finals duel against Fajardo is just the beginning of their future battles.

“There will be future conferences and I know there will be many games that I will be matching up against him,” said Sangalang of Fajardo. “Maybe I’ll put in more effort, especially on the defensive end, so I can challenge and stop June Mar.”

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