DESPITE taking Rain or Shine’s rookie center Raymond Almazan several times to school in their game on Friday, Meralco's veteran big man Reynel Hugnatan believes it will only be a matter of time before the Letran star becomes a major force in the PBA.
“Of course, he’s (Almazan) still young. Siyempre, bago pa lang, ilang beses pa lang nage-ensayo, pero malaking potential niya at malaking bata, gagaling pa yang bata,” Hugnatan told Spin.ph after the Bolts dropped their second straight game this season via an 89-94 loss to the E-Painters.
Hugnatan, an undersized power forward, used his brains and brawn in outfoxing the reed-thin Almazan several times during their skirmish in the first half while scoring on putbacks and quick-release jumpers against the reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player.
“Siyempre, agresibo nung una si Raymond. Nanggigil pa siya, pero siguro mapagaaralan naman niya yun eh, Defensive player siya eh so pume-fake ng konti, buti kumakagat naman,” added the 35-year-old former University of Manila standout.
On the other hand, Almazan, who went scoreless and had just two rebounds in 14 foul-plagued minutes, admitted he still has a lot of learn as he slowly adjusts to the PBA brand of play.
“Ni-ready ko na sarili ko sa sigaw,” said the 6’7” Almazan, who, true enough, was scolded by Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao after picking up his third foul early in the second period while trying to poke the ball away from Hugnatan’s grip.
“Ok lang yun, part of the game and part of growing up 'yun eh.”
Almazan, playing just his first game as a pro after finishing his commitment with Letran in the NCAA Finals only last weekend, said he’ll just have to absorb as much as he can from his veteran teammates in order to hasten his development as a pro.
“Di ko expected talaga na ganun kabigat mga players. Siguro, paghahandaan ko pa talaga, di ko pa alam masyado mga plays. Ang mga tawagan di ka rin naman papaburan, hopefully next game makabawi,” he added.