MANILA, Philippines -- Ian Sangalang has received assurance from Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero that he remains a crucial cog of the Hotshots.
This, amid trade rumors swirling around the veteran forward.
"(Even) before naman, wala na 'yun eh," Victolero said Wednesday. "We're not looking on that."
The 29-year-old Sangalang was the second overall pick by Magnolia in the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft. He has been the Hotshots' top scoring option inside the paint for several seasons. In the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Sangalang weathered injuries to put up 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Victolero said he has personally told Sangalang to pay no mind to the trade rumors.
"Yun din ang sinabi ko sa kaniya, na huwag na niya isipin, walang maba-bother because last year ganoon din. So ayun, wala namang planong ganoon," he said.
"We don't want to break the chemistry, 'yung chemistry namin because maayos naman," he added.
Rather than trading Sangalang, the Hotshots are looking for someone who can help him -- a "partner," according to Victolero.
They took a big step towards fulfilling that need when they acquired Calvin Abueva in a blockbuster trade with Phoenix Super LPG on Wednesday, with Chris Banchero heading to the Fuel Masters in exchange.
However, Victolero said they still have some holes in their roster that they have to fill.
"Ang kailangan lang namin is 'yung makakatulong na posisyon, 'yung isang posisyon na 'yun or ilang posisyon para… ma-improve 'yung team namin."
"With the addition of Calvin, medyo gumanda, at I think ilang position na lang. So siguro sa draft na namin kukuhanin 'yon," he added.
Magnolia team manager Alvin Patrimonio previously said that they are looking for a big man in the Rookie Draft. The Hotshots switched first round picks with Phoenix in the Abueva trade and they will now be selecting 10th overall.
Victolero said they will first study the final list of draftees that will be released by the Commissioner's Office early next month.
"Wait and see lang muna kami," he said. "After March 5, siguro we'll try to talk kung ano ba 'yung position na dapat naming punuin, anong klaseng player 'yung kailangan namin tingnan, tapos from there, saka kami mag-start siguro."