REED-THIN Raymond Almazan seemed like an odd fit for 'Extra Rice Inc,' but Rain or Shine's beefy big men look forward to having him around.
Almazan may look like a hamburger patty in between two buns when he stands alongside Painters big men Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, but Belga was quick to point out the value of the player who the franchise will most likely make the third pick overall in Sunday's PBA rookie draft.
“Unang-una, kulang talaga kami sa bigs, eh si Raymond, nakapag-practice na rin naman ng ilang beses sa team,” said Belga, who is set to sign his new three-year, multi-million contract extension with the Asian Coating franchise on Tuesday.
“Ako din, nakiki-practice ako before sa Letran pag offseason so kita ko na magkaka-additional shot blocker kami kung makuha namin siya,” Belga told Spin.ph on Monday.
What Almazan lacks in heft, Belga said the Knights big man makes up for with his great shot-blocking skills, making him a perfect help side defender in the Painters' undersized frontline.
“With Raymond, magkaka-help side defender na kami na naging kulang talaga namin nitong nakaraang season kasi maliit lang kami ni JR (Quinahan) at Jervy (Cruz),” he said.
The Elasto Painters are picking third in Sunday’s Annual Rookie Draft and appeared to be sold on Almazan. They also have the ninth pick overall.
Barangay Ginebra owns the top overall pick followed by San Mig Coffee, and barring any last-minute change of heart, the Kings are set to tab seven-footer Greg Slaughter while the Mixers are keen to taking former NCAA Most Valuable Player Ian Sangalang.
The 6-foot-6 Belga also pointed out that Almazan’s transition to pro basketball with Rain or Shine won’t be difficult anymore since he’s currently playing under Caloy Garcia at Letran.
Garcia serves as coach Yeng Guiao’s top deputy at Rain or Shine.
“At the same time, 'yung sistema namin is pareho lang halos with Letran kasi si coach Caloy naman ang coach niya dun sa Letran. So di na masyadong malaki ang magiging adjustment niya. Pakikisama na lang sa amin ang iisipin niya,” added the 27-year-old former Philippine Christian University stalwart.