MANILA, Philippines -- All-Star big man Ian Sangalang is not at his best for the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, with back pains forcing him to miss one game in the conference already.
"Hindi siya okay, hindi siya 100%," Magnolia coach Chito Victolero revealed on Sunday, after the Hotshots claimed an impressive 102-92 win over Barangay Ginebra in the Manila Clasico.
Sangalang was still good for 14 points and eight rebounds in that game, playing just under 30 minutes and making six of his 12 shots from the field. But Victolero stressed that his status is day to day, as they do not want to risk his health.
"Sine-save namin siya. Hindi siya nagpa-practice, andoon lang siya sa practice namin, nanonood lang, tinitingnan niya 'yung game plan," he said. "We try to save Ian sa game."
The good news for Victolero is that while Sangalang is still working his way back into full fitness, he is getting solid contributions from his other frontliners.
Jackson Corpuz, for instance, was superb against the Gin Kings. He put up 20 points and six rebounds, while shooting eight-of-12 from the field.
The team's elder statesman, Rafi Reavis, continues to be a solid contributor for the Hotshots. He had six points and seven rebounds while playing over 27 minutes against Ginebra.
Michael Calisaan and Aris Dionisio also saw spot minutes.
"Everybody stepped up," said Victolero. "Jack Corpuz, Michael Calisaan, Aris Dionisio. And tama ka, our veteran, the youngest of the players, si Rafi."
"Talagang grabe ang nilalaro niya ngayon, and hopefully magsimula 'yung ganyan na sacrifices namin, makakuha kahit paano ng ilang panalo," he added.
Magnolia's win over Ginebra in the Clasico put them at 2-4, keeping them alive in the playoff race in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
They will also have more time for Sangalang to rest and recover, after their game against Blackwater Elite, scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed.
"Si Ian is very committed," Victolero assured. "Talagang gusto niyang makatulong sa team."