Ian Sangalang (No. 10, photo above) is back shouldering low-post chores forMagnolia. —PBA IMAGES

Slowly but surely, Magnolia is getting Ian Sangalang back in the form the team is used to seeing from him.

Sangalang had 23 points, nine rebounds, five assists as the Hotshots dumped the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 107-93, last Sunday, a performance that was just a few nights removed from resetting his career-best scoring performance with 32 points versus red-hot NorthPort.

Magnolia lost Sangalang to a thyroid problem and worked him slowly back to his minutes on his return.He was just named Player of the Week by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Press Corps.

“We never rushed him,” coach Chito Victolero said.

“We just wanted him to come back, even if it was slowly. We didn’t want to pressure Ian during that time. We hoped for him to regain his conditioning, his confidence. We knew when he gets back, he’s going to be big for us since he’s our best post up player,” he added.

“Now, we have just that.”

With their ace big man back in form, Magnolia looks to make the most out of a rare opportunity when it battles Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup this Wednesday.

The Hotshots will have a chance to strengthen its bid for a comfortable playoff spot—and even twice-to-beat protection—in the 7:30 p.m. clash with the Bossing, who are now a shell of their former self after turning in three straight victories in the league’s crown jewel tournament.

Nothing to chance

If Sunday night’s win was an indication, Magnolia intends to leave nothing to chance in the encounter that will be held at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

“You need to have no hesitation. When there’s opportunity, you take it,” said cornerstone Mark Barroca, who despite a bum hand starred for the club in that victory over Phoenix.

A win by Magnolia will extend the club’s winning streak to three games and distance it from a shaky start to the conference.And that is something that Rain or Shine hopes to do as well when it takes on yet another skidding side in NorthPort when the two sides face off in the curtain-raiser.

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The 4-4 (win-loss) Elasto Painters will have all sorts of momentum after a 116-104 triumph over Terrafirma that pushed their winning streak to four games.



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Interestingly, the Dyip has suffered two straight losses, a trend seemingly also shared by the Batang Pier and the Bossing who were all playing splendidly at the start of the conference. INQ



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