RAIN or Shine coach Caloy Garcia is lamenting Raymond Almazan’s recent sub-par performance, wondering if his star slotman’s Gilas Pilipinas immersion has affected the execution of his mother club’s system.
After tallying 13.5 points on 62.5-percent shooting, five boards, and one block in 22.5 minutes in his first two games, the 6-foot-8 Almazan has averaged just four points on 55.6% shooting, and 2.3 boards without blocking a single shot in 8.3 minutes in his next three games.
Garcia is left to wonder if juggling Gilas and Rain or Shine practices has left his player in a state of confusion.
“Ever since nag-Gilas siya, nawala yung ano niya sa team namin,” Garcia admitted in a chat with SPIN.ph after ROS practice on Monday. “I don’t know if he’s getting confused with the Gilas plays and our plays.”
Gilas runs coach Chot Reyes’ dribble-drive system, while the Elasto Painters instill a more free-flowing, fast-paced offense.
“That’s why we just simplified our offense now, kasi I don’t want the players to be confused,” Garcia continued. “Sabi ko nga sa kanya last game, ginagawa niyang dribble-drive yung sistema namin na wala naman kami dun.”
Almazan admitted it’s tough to juggle club and country duties.
“Kung iisipin mo, medyo mahirap, pero para sa bayan naman yung gagawin mo, nawawala yung pagod,” the former NCAA MVP out of Letran said. “Yun nga lang, kailangan mo ng self-discipline, kailangan matulog ka ng maaga, kumain ka maayos, tsaka yung time management mo pinakamahalaga.”
Almazan insists outside factors like officiating are affecting his recent play for the E-Painters who have gone 1-2 (win-loss) in their last games where their star big man has underwhelmed.
“Medyo nafu-frustrate ako sa mga tawag,” the 27-year-old cager said. "Nag-umpisa yun sa Blackwater eh, parang mainit ulo ko sa loob nun. Medyo adjustment lang.”
While he’s eager to bounce back, Almazan is careful not to force the issue.
“Conscious effort just to help the team, but pag inisip mo kasi na kailangan mong bumawi, dun nangyayari yung kasablayan eh, so hayaan mo lang,” Almazan said. “Just go with the flow lang – kung gamitin ako ni coach, ilang minutes ako gamitin, basta pag ginamit ako, make the most out of it na lang.”
Garcia would be more satisfied to see Almazan get back on being a steady defensive presence – more than improving his offensive numbers.
“It’s not naman yung offense yung hinahabol ko sa kanya. It’s more of his defense,” Garcia said. “Last game, parang nawawala siya dun sa rotation, and at the same time, parang talon lang siya ng talon, parang hindi siya si Raymond na defensive player.”