RAYMOND Almazan has returned to Rain or Shine's fold after settling differences with head coach Caloy Garcia, but officials said he won't escape sanctions over his unsanctioned absence.
Rain or Shine co-team owner Raymund Yu didn’t discount the possibility of punishing the 29-year-old center after he went ‘AWOL’ (Absence Without Leave) in the team's campaign in the 2018 PBA Governors Cup.
“Yes,” was Yu’s curt reply when asked on whether a sanction is forthcoming for Almazan, stressing it would be unfair to the other Elasto Painters if Almazan won’t be punished for his unsanctioned weeks-long absence.
But Yu assured everything has been settled between Almazan and Garcia, with whom the player had a misunderstanding that led to him skipping practices and not suiting up in the team’s last six games.
Accompanied by agent Danny Espiritu and his wife Liza, Almazan went to the Rain or Shine head office in Pasig on Monday afternoon to meet with Yu, who co-owns the 13-year franchise with longtime partner Terry Que.
Also present were Garcia, Rain or Shine alternate governor Edison Oribiana, and board of governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon.
Instead of looking back, Espiritu said Yu was bent on moving on.
“Sabi niya (Yu) lang ayusin na natin ito. Huwag na nating pag-usapan pa kung anuman yung nangyari kasi magkakaroon pa ng finger-pointing yan,” said Espiritu of the meeting that lasted for more than an hour.
“Fresh start tayo. Start from zero again. Kalimutan na natin yun,” Espiritu added quoting Yu.
The Rain or Shine owner said all’s well that ends well for Almazan and the team, which picked him third overall during the 2013 rookie draft.
“It’s a work in progress and I’m confident about it,” Yu said.
The Rain or Shine co-owner also reiterated during the meeting the franchise is not keen on trading Almazan, whose contract with the team won't expire until October next year.
With only a slim chance of advancing to the playoffs, Rain or Shine decided not to have Almazan back in the roster for the rest of the season-ending conference.
But he was told to be present when the Elasto Painters resumes practice starting on Nov. 4 in preparation for the league’s 44th season.
The Elasto Painters carry a 2-6 (win-loss) record and will have Phoenix, San Miguel, and NLEX for their remaining three games.