RAYMOND Almazan kept his emotions in check this time, but couldn’t keep complacency from creeping in on Wednesday night.
The Rain or Shine star big man admitted his team somehow took Columbian Dyip lightly again and paid for it in the form of its first loss of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup - a 104-96 decision on Wednesday night.
“Siguro (naging kampante),” said Almazan, who was involved in a fight with Eric Camson in their meeting in the Philippine Cup where the Kia franchise also upset the E-Painters, 98-94. “Nung first quarter kasi sobrang flat talaga. Kahit nung start nung third okay pa, nung nakalamang na medyo nagre-relax. Hanggang di na kami makahabol.”
“Masyado kaming nag-relax,” he added. “Gusto na namin kalimutan yung ganyan. Tignan namin sa practice kung ano yung dapat pang iimprove - iimprove hindi sa ano pero sa sarili namin.”
Ejected in their faceoff in the all-Filipino conference after his scuffle with Camson, Almazan was available all-game long this time as he tallied 16 points, 14 boards, and one block in 22 minutes as a starter.
But the 6-foot-8 stretch big man sat in the final nine minutes as coach Caloy Garcia stuck with import Reggie Johnson as his man in the middle the rest of the way.
“Nung last eight minutes nung game gusto ko maglaro,” Almazan admitted. “Gusto ko nasa loob ako ng court. Pero wala eh. Gusto ko makabawi eh. Kasi nung last all-Filipino di ba na-thrown out dahil nga may nangyari. Kaya gusto ko makabawi. Wala eh, breaks of the game. May nananalo, may natatalo.”
Whether on the court or on the bench, Almazan is hoping the entire E-Painters team recover against a lowly team that has mastered them in their last two meetings.
“Yun nasa utak na lang siguro yun. Pag iniisip mong natalo ka ng team na to mahirap yun. Kailangan malagpasan mo yung ganun,” Almazan said.