FORMER NCAA MVP Raymond Almazan will be the first to admit that playing against foreign recruits aided him in his blossoming basketball career.
Now one of the cornerstones of the surging Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and a many-time national team member, the 6-foot-8 Almazan said that he couldn't have developed into the player that he is today if he didn't face these players early in his career.
The NCAA recently announced that it won't be allowing foreign players to play in its league starting 2020.
"For me sobrang laki ng naitulong sa paglalaro ko going to the pro," said Almazan while adding that the league could have taken a different approach on the ruling, like a cap on height.
The former Letran star definitely knows what he's talking about.
He won the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year in Season 89 where he posted averages of 14.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks a game against stiff competition.
The Orion, Bataan native edged out the likes of San Beda's Ola Adeogun, Emilio Aguinaldo's Cedric Happi Noube, and Perpetual's Nosa Omorogbe for the plum.
"Ako na nagsasabi malaking tulong sa pag-develop ng players ang mga foreigner na makakalaro mo," he added.
Almazan even used his PBA stint as an example of how good competition can boost a player's stint.
In the Commissioner's Cup, Almazan is certainly showing that progress as he averages 16.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in an import-laden conference with a height limit of 6'10”.
"For example sa PBA may two conferences na makakalaban mo ay import hindi lang basta import mga NBA caliber pa."