Slowly but surely, Louie Sangalang is making his best effort to control his emotions during the game and not be a letdown when it mattered the most for the Letran Knights.

Louie Sangalang of the Letran Knights (NCAA/GMA)

Sangalang on Saturday, Oct. 8, did not disappoint and delivered in Letran’s 70-67 win against Perpetual in the first round of the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

He finished with 12 points on a 6-of-10 shooting to go with three assists but was only limited to two rebounds, which was an unlikely production for the veteran bruiser.

The 6-foot-4 Sangalang scored eight points in the payoff period, powering the Knights in the end game en route to a 5-3 record.

He was already fouled out in the last two minutes though and Sangalang could not hide a slight frustration he felt despite still wanting to provide for Letran.

“Buti nakabawi ako noong huli bago ako ma-fouled out. May na-contribute ako kasi tagal ko rin nakaupo dahil sa foul trouble. Tulad noong sa Baste (San Sebastian), foul trouble din ako,” recalled Sangalang. “Mas maganda sana kung na-maintain ko ‘yong depensa ko nang maayos.”

That said, changing for the better is what Sangalang vowed to himself heading into the second round following his two-game suspension earlier in the season along with teammate Brent Paraiso.

Knights head coach Bonnie Tan said those suspensions as well as the absence of both Sangalang and Paraiso proved to be costly as Letran suffered back-to-back losses against San Beda and Lyceum.

Sangalang, in that span, saw himself humbled and believed that those were the consequences of his actions and he has been working on his character for him not to repeat the same mistakes.

“Kailangan ko na talagang kontrolin para mag-focus sa team — play to win,” said the 24-year-old Sangalang.

“Siguro para sa akin, yong character ko ibahin ko na — mas controlled ko na. Sa laro mas bibigay ko pa, mas kailangan ko pang mag-mature. Lalo kanina, dami ko pa sanang maitutulong.”

Also thanks to Tan and to their parents, what happened recently became an eye-opener for both Sangalang and Paraiso.

“Sinabi niya (Tan) sa amin na lesson learned. Kahit ‘yong parents namin ni Brent sinabihan kami na lesson learned, test of character,” added Sangalang. “Sana talaga maging lesson na para ‘di na maulit.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (