PBA: Black lauds Almazan’s ‘best game’ since joining Meralco
Mark Escarlote on Sep 21, 2019 10:41 PM
May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin -- Raymond Almazan
Meralco head coach Norman Black had nothing but praise for big man Raymond Almazan’s game on Saturday.
The mentor felt that Almazan delivered his breakout game since joining the Bolts back in May of this year with clutch plays in Meralco’s 98-92 opening day victory over defending champion Magnolia in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Big Dome.
”This is probably the best game of Raymond Almazan since he joined our team,” said Black of his ward, whose fourth quarter explosion spelled the difference in the duel.
Almazan broke a 92-92 deadlock with a trey in the last 2:27 of the match and added a split from the foul line to fuel Meralco’s late game barrage. He capped his night with a crucial defensive stop, swatting away Mark Barroca’s layup attempt with 17 ticks left that crushed the comeback hopes of the Hotshots.
“Kasi pinaghandaan ko din eh. 100% na (dapat) ready physically and mentally, so kailangan eh. Di na rin tayo pa-bata eh,” said Almazan, who is fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. "May mga bagong batang pumapasok—mas malakas, mas bata, mas athletic. So kailangang i-rise up natin yung game natin."
Almazan finished with 19 points -- 12 coming in the payoff period -- in 7-of-11 field goal shooting.
“I'm happy for Raymond, I'm happy that he came out and really came up with some big plays for us tonight,” said Black.
Almazan also grabbed 13 boards, had two assists and a block for Meralco.
Black just hopes that Almazan would stay healthy throughout the conference.
“Last conference he joined us after he was out with an injury for 10 weeks. Everybody expected him to come back and play well immediately, but a lot of people didn't know that about a week after, he re-injured his calf in practice, which set him back,” said Black.
“Then when he finally recovered from that, he got sick and was out for another four days. He really could not get his bearings in the last conference, but I wasn't really concerned about that 'cause I knew he was new to the team and he really didn't know the system that well,” added Black. “But we've had a chance now to get him comfortable with the team.”
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