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    Almazan now the voice behind tweaked Gilas battle cry, 'Para sa Bayan, PUSO'

    Aug 29, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    FROM Marc Pingris to Calvin Abueva to, now, Raymond Almazan.

    The lanky Meralco center is the new voice behind Gilas Pilipinas' familiar battle cry which has been given a new twist under coach Yeng Guiao.

    From 'Laban Pilipinas,' Gilas players are now shouting 'Para Sa Bayan, PUSO!' in the huddle at the end of every practice and game.

    And taking charge of that new Gilas slogan is the 6-foot-8 Almazan, who was tasked by his longtime coach to handle the task.

    "Sabi ni coach ako daw ang sumigaw kasi ako ang pinaka-maingay sa amin," said Almazan before the team left for Foshan, China for the FIBA World Cup.

    "Tsaka pinaka-talkative talaga (ako)."

    By letting Almazan take charge, the battle cry has also lightened the mood in practice after a hard day's work.

    "Lalo na pag tahimik gusto ni coach may pinag-uusapan kami ng team," said the 30-year-old native of Bataan. "Kasi doon makikita yung team bonding, di ba.

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    "Pero masarap din iyung ikaw ang sisigaw, a."

    But his assigned task didn't necessarily guarantee his inclusion in the final 12-man roster.

    The choice for one of the last two spots actually boiled down between Almazan and former Rain or Shine teammate Beau Belga following the knee injury suffered by big man Poy Erram.

    "Very thankful ako kay coach Yeng na binigyan niya ako ng chance na makapaglaro sa World Cup. Once in a lifetime ito, e," he said.

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      Almazan failed to join Gilas in its training camp in Spain after being denied a visa.

      This time, he made sure no technicalities will happen in the China trip for his first ever World Cup.

      "Pinaghandaan ko talaga itong World Cup. Actually, lahat kami pinaghandaan namin ito," Almazan said.

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      PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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