MANILA, Philippines – The slumping Magnolia Hotshots will receive a major boost as they will welcome back star big man Ian Sangalang in their next game of the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Sangalang has been out of action since May 19, when he suffered a fractured right hand during a game against the Meralco Bolts.
In his absence, the Hotshots have won only one of their past five games – a 111-89 rout of TNT KaTropa. On Sunday, they were crushed by the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 104-84, to drop to 4-4 in the conference.
Help is on the way, however.
"Ian will start practicing with us on Wednesday, so makakabalik na si Ian," Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said of his prized big man, who was averaging 13 points and 5.5 rebounds per game before his untimely injury.
"Four to six weeks kasi 'yung sinasabi na healing. So nakaka-four weeks na siya, so he can start na siguro 'yung gradual practice," he added.
Magnolia won't play again until July 4, when they take on the NLEX Road Warriors. The additional time will surely be of great help to Sangalang and the Hotshots, as they look to reintegrate him to their line-up.
"Malaking bagay 'yun, kasi nakita niyo naman, we don't have any inside presence with the loss of Ian and Ping (Marc Pingris) eh," said Victolero.
"So right now, we just try to give our small guys kung ano 'yung offense namin. But with Ian, at least we have a post presence. Lalaki din kami. Nawala kasi sa amin is 15 points, eight rebounds a game, so talagang mahirap palitan 'yun," he added.
"But I think maganda lang diyan, may chance pa, at makakabalik na si Ian."
Sangalang did not need surgery to repair the fracture in his right hand, only undergoing therapy. He has also been keeping in shape, but won't be able to fully practice until his soft cast is removed this week.
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