Golden Stag Ilagan can hit 16 straight triples

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 01, 2017 05:15 PM
Golden Stag Ilagan can hit 16 straight triples
HOT STREAK. RK Ilagan has shot his way into the very core of San Sebastian's aspirations for a return to relevance.

As far as streaky shooters go, RK Ilagan can give De La Salle University’s Aljun Melecio or San Beda College’s AC Soberano a run for their money.

Asked about his longest run of made triples, he answered, “Sa practice po, nakaka-16 straight ako.”

He also added, “Kung sa game naman, parang naka-seven straight din ako.”

That’s not at all solely based on innate talent, however. Much of it has to do with full-time commitment during practice and even after training sessions.

Like all other shooters, the 19-year-old hoists up many more shots each and every practice. “Nag-e-extra shots po ako, mga 250 attempts per practice,” he said.

Fortunately for Ilagan, that dedication comes easy for someone like him who had to fight for anything and everything he has. “Iniisip ko lang na pangarap ko ‘to. Gusto ko rin po kasing makapaglaro sana sa Gilas (Pilipinas), makapaglaro sa PBA,” he said.

He then continued, “Kaya hard work lang po talaga para sa pangarap ko.”

Back in his high school days, the pride of Tondo was turned down not once, but twice. “Nag-tryout po ako sa NU, ‘di ako nakuha. Tapos nag-tryout din po ako sa Baste (HS), ‘di rin ako nakuha,” he recalled.

Yes, the same school he is in now rejected him at first. The reason, as always for pint-sized guards like him who stands at five-foot-eight, “Masyadong maliit daw ako.”

Ilagan’s fortunes turned around when he impressed in the Jr. NBA – not the regular selection camps, however, but the lesser-known Power Camps.

From there, the streaky shooter still had to fight his way to a good spot. As he narrated, “Pagtapos po ng Jr. NBA, nag-tryout po ako ulit sa Baste (HS). Nakuha na naman po ako, pero pagdating ko ng Seniors, nag-Team B pa ako ng isang taon.”

At long last, Ilagan finally made it into the Team A – into the Golden Stags – a year ago and then proceeded to norm 12.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on top of a total of 49 triples.

That kind of season put him in the good graces of disciplinarian head coach Egay Macaraya. Nothing but thankful for the opportunity, the incoming second-year guard said, “Sobrang laking tulong ni coach sa amin kasi lagi niyang pinapaalala sa amin, lagi lang kaming magpursigi.”

And while he has already worked and showed his skill for making it rain, there’s still a lot more to be done for Ilagan to become a well-rounded player.

The good news is that he knows that full well. “Ngayon po, susundin ko pa rin sinasabi ni coach Egay. Kilala na ako sa three points, pero dadagdagan ko pa mga gagawin ko,” he said.

He then continued, “Magki-create ako para sa teammates ko, i-involve ko teammates ko para mabigyan din sila ng kumpyansa.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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