RAYMOND Almazan has always been the tallest player for all the teams he has played in.
The 6-foot-8 beanpole took part in Gilas Pilipinas practice on Monday night and was left amazed as not just one, but two players were taller than him for a change.
And the Rain or Shine center can’t help but be excited about the possibilities as he forms a triple-tower combination with June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar.
“Oo (excited ako), kasi six-eight ako tapos may mas malalaki pa sa akin, ‘di ba?” Almazan said. “Sa team namin, ako na yung pinakamalaki. Tapos dito sa Gilas, si June Mar at Japeth, ang laki eh.”
“Star-struck talaga ako na magkakasama kami sa Gilas,” he added. “Iba yung sa game pala. Sa game, parang may gusto ako patunayan. Dito, parang excited ako na makasama sila. Yun pala yung feeling nun.”
While Fajardo and Aguilar are starting to develop a bond off the court, Almazan is also eager to get to know his fellow big men better.
“Kay June Mar at Japeth, matagal na silang magkasama eh. Pero minsan, nakikisingit ako sa kulitan nila eh, kasi parang gusto ko maki-jell sa trip nila eh,” Almazan said. “Ganun yun eh pag nasa isang team na kayo.”
At least, the former NCAA MVP out of Letran has also found a buddy in former college rival Calvin Abueva.
“Magkakulitan kami,” Almazan said of the former San Sebastian star. “Sa loob ng court lang naman kami magkaaway ng makulit na yan eh. Trabaho lang, walang personalan, since college pa lang. pagkatapos ng game, siya naga-apologize sa akin, so nakita ko na mabait naman pala si Calvin.
“The way he plays, ganun lang talaga siya,” he added. “Makulit siya eh.”
Like Fajardo and Aguilar, Almazan knows what he can offer to the national team.
“Syempre height, rebounding, tsaka depensa,” the Orion, Bataan pride beamed. “Alam ko kung anong role ko sa team sakaling masama ako sa final lineup.”