PBA Philippine Cup

Almazan redeems self for Meralco after EDSA bus lane violation

Delfin Dioquino

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Almazan redeems self for Meralco after EDSA bus lane violation

POSSESSION. Raymond Almazan in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

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Raymond Almazan produces his first double-double in the PBA Philippine Cup two weeks after he got apprehended for illegal use of the EDSA bus lane as Meralco delivers a defensive masterclass against Magnolia

MANILA, Philippines – Raymond Almazan redeemed himself after he found himself in hot water for a traffic violation that also led to a suspension.

The veteran big man produced 12 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double in the PBA Philippine Cup as he keyed Meralco to an all-important 74-51 win over Magnolia at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, April 28.

His performance came two weeks after he got apprehended for illegal use of the EDSA bus lane – an infraction made worse by allegations that Almazan tried to bribe his way out of a penalty.

The PBA caught wind of the incident and suspended Almazan for one game.

Playing in his second game since his suspension, Almazan rose to the occasion as the Bolts delivered a defensive masterclass, limiting the Hotshots to their lowest scoring output in franchise history on the way to a 5-5 record.

“I’m not a perfect person. All of us makes mistakes. I said sorry already,” said Almazan in a mix of Filipino and English. “I got affected by it because I’m thinking about the team since I’m one of the veterans and I’m a co-captain.”

“So I needed to lead by example. I wanted to show it today.”

Meralco held Magnolia scoreless in the final 6:50 minutes of the first half to build a 35-21 advantage then pulled away for good in the third quarter behind Almazan and Chris Newsome as their lead ballooned to 56-34.

Almazan and Newsome scored 6 points each in the third frame, nearly matching the Hotshots’ measly 13 points in the period.

Newsome finished with a near triple-double of 12 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals, while Chris Banchero chimed in 11 points.

Rookie big man Brandon Bates added 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals for the Bolts, who climbed to seventh place going into their final game of the elimination round.

While four players scored in double figures for Meralco, no Magnolia player reached twin digits, with the entire team shooting 25% (18-of-71) from the field, including a horrendous 5% (1-of-19) from beyond the arc.

Also, the Hotshots recorded twice as many turnovers (18) as assists (9) as they eclipsed their previous all-time lowest scoring output in a game of 53 points recorded against Sta. Lucia in the 2005 Fiesta Conference.

Ian Sangalang paced Magnolia with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Missing key cogs Jio Jalalon and Calvin Abueva due to knee issues, the Hotshots absorbed their second straight loss and fell to 5-4.

The Scores

Meralco 74 – Newsome 12, Almazan 12, Banchero 11, Bates 10, Caram 9, Quinto 6, Maliksi 4, Black 3, Dario 3, Hodge 2, Pascual 2, Torres 0, Pasaol 0.

Magnolia  51 – Sangalang 8, Laput 6, Dionisio 6, Lee 6, Dela Rosa 5, Barroca 5, Tratter 4, Balanza 4, Escoto 2, Corpuz 2, Eriobu 2, Mendoza 1, Reavis 0.

Quarters: 21-14, 35-21, 56-34, 74-51.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.