IAN Sangalang is playing through injury in a bid to win a second PBA Philippine Cup title in his career.
What comes with it, such as the Best Player of the Conference plum, will be but just a bonus to the Magnolia big man.
"Pumunta ako dito sa bubble not expecting na maging candidate sa BPC. Kasi pumunta ako rito para makabalik ulit kami sa finals," said Sangalang.
The 29-year-old Sangalang did achieve that goal as Magnolia is now battling TnT Tropang Giga in the title series for the league's so-called crown jewel.
But in doing so, his fine plays, along with teammate Calvin Abueva, has Sangalang becoming a top contender for the conference's highest individual award in a race where he's running at third place behind Abueva and NorthPort's Robert Bolick, and barely ahead of TnT rookie Mikey Williams and San Miguel big man and six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.
"Bonus na lang yun na nakarating ako run (BPC candidate)," said the 6-foot-7 native of Lubao, Pampanga.
"Nilaro ko lang naman yung laro ko throughout the conference. And before the season, nagpa-kundisyon talaga ako," Sangalang added.
The Hotshots, however, found themselves trailing the Tropang Giga, 0-2, going into Game 3 Sunday as Sangalang (back) and Paul Lee (shoulder) are both nursing injuries.
Sangalang bucked the pain of back spasm and tried to rally the Hotshots by tallying 25 points and eight rebounds in an effort that went down the drain as the team lost, 105-93, in Game 2.
But all is not lost yet for Magnolia, and Sangalang vows to continue playing through pain as he seeks a second all-Filipino title after the franchise's 2014 grand slam quest.
"Andito na kami sa finals ngayon," he said. (RG)