Almazan just waiting go signal for Meralco debut

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco has found the big man it had long wanted in Raymond Almazan, but he has to wait a few more days before he officially dons the Bolts jersey.

Still recuperating from a calf injury, Almazan said he still awaits the go signal from the doctors on when he can return to the PBA hardwood after missing the first two games of the 2019 Commissioner's Cup. 

"Nakakainip," Almazan said after watching Meralco redeem itself from its heartbreaking conference-opening defeat to Blackwater with a 101-92 win over Columbian on Friday, May 24. 

(I'm itching to play.)

"Mahirap lang kasi two months akong pahinga. Iba ang real game. Makukuha ko rin naman 'yung conditioning through the season. Let's see what happens na lang. Sana makakuha na ako ng go signal.

(It's just hard because I've been away for two months. The real game is different. I'll get my conditioning back through the season. Let's just see what happens. I hope I get the go signal.) 

Bolts coach Norman Black said Almazan has already underwent a strenuous workout session and has doctors convinced he could play already. 

"[I]t's just a matter of getting him in shape and getting him used to our system. So maybe another two games at least before he comes back. But he'll be back soon," Black said of Almazan.  

While still acclimating himself to his new team, Almazan looks to bring the same defensive presence he was known for before he was traded by Rain or Shine

"I started with defense bago pa ako makarating sa liga so sana madala ko 'yung intensity sa defense and then makatulong ako sa team – rebounding, blocking, at helping sa weak side," he said. 

(I started with defense before I entered this league so I hope I can bring that same kind of intensity and make a presence in the team in rebounding, blocking and helping the weak side.) 

Meralco will test its mettle against defending champion Barangay Ginebra at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, May 26.

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.