by Jonas Terrado
Injured Magnolia captain Marc Pingris believes it’s just a matter of time before he can pass the leadership mantle to Ian Sangalang.
Pingris is pleased that Sangalang has turned into one of the vocal leaders of the Hotshots’ current run in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against the San Miguel Beermen.
“Si Ian kasi nakikita ko na balang araw na magagawa niya rin yung mai-push mga teammates niya,” Pingris said.
“Pero napapansin ko na kay Ian na pag may opportunity na down yung teammate niya, kinakausap niya. Nakikita ko na nahihinog na siya and hopefully tuloy-tuloy na yan.”
The past two seasons has seen Sangalang become one of the PBA’s best centers as evident with how he helped the Hotshots overcome a 0-3 start in the eliminations to reach the finals for the third time in the last four conferences.
The leadership aspect, on the other hand, is something the former San Sebastian center has embraced, knowing how his progress will be key in Magnolia’s success for the long term.
“Siyempre time na para mag-step up dahil yung team nagrerely na sa akin,” Sangalang said. “Malaki ang expectation sa akin at kailangan gampanan ko role ni Ping na ginagawa niya sa team. Kailangan kumuha ako inspirasyon sa kanila.”
Mentoring Sangalang is one of the things Pingris can only do for now since he’s still trying to complete his recovery from an ACL injury sustained in last season’s Philippine Cup semifinals.
While pleased at how his teammates have overcome multiple adversities that resulted in Wednesday’s 99-94 victory over San Miguel in Game 1, Pingris couldn’t help but being envy.
Pingris had earlier ruled himself out of playing the Philippine Cup as he wants to make sure his knee is 100 percent healed.
“Of course sobrang proud ako sa mga teammates ko, nakakainggit lang dahil gusto kong maglaro, gusto ko silang tulungan pero alam naman natin na di ko kagustuhan ang nangyari saking injury di ba?” Pingris said.
“Ngayon magagawa ko lang is pagsabihan sila through my experiences ko like pag pangit nilalaro ng mga teammates ko pinagsasabihan ko sila. I think yun lang maitutulong ko sa kanila ngayon. Wish ko is sana makabalik din ako.”