ROS center Raymond Almazan ready to juggle country, club duties upon return from injury
Raymond Almazan is back in harness for Rain or Shine after missing the second half of the Philippine Cup due to a calf injury. Karlo Sacamos

RAIN or Shine is all for the country, but is just seeking a compromise for the club ahead of its conference debut in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Elasto Painters are releasing standouts Raymond Almazan and Mike Tolomia for Gilas Pilipinas’ three-day training camp in Tagaytay from Tuesday to Thursday, leaving coach Caloy Garcia in a dilemma ahead of their opening game in the midseason tournament on Friday night against NLEX.

“Problema ko lang kay Raymond at Mike, yung timing nung Gilas na teambuilding,” Garcia told after practice on Monday. “They did it three days before the opening, so we’ll miss them for three days tapos game kaagad na wala kaming preparation.”

“I just told the players we can’t use it as an excuse, kasi it’s for flag and country,” he added. “Pero sana, they should’ve made it in an earlier stage na pwede kaming mag-adjust. Now, yung game preparation mo without your two players, I don’t know how to … or how can they play.

Garcia is hoping the national team allows the ROS duo to return a day earlier to rejoin the E-Painters on the eve of the conference opener against the Road Warriors.

“Last minute sila nagsabi ng yung three days,” Garcia said. “Ang hinihingi lang naman namin sana is payagan sila bumalik ng Wednesday night para Thursday morning, they’ll be able to practice with the team.”

“I haven’t received any (feedback yet),” he added.

Almazan is juggling country and club duties – hoping to make a good first impression on national coach Chot Reyes, while also eager to return to the court for the E-Painters after missing the second half of the Philippine Cup due to a calf injury.

“Kailangan mag-sakripisyo. Twice a day magpa-practice dun eh,” Almazan revealed of the camp that’s supposedly more of a bonding session than a training camp. “Para rin naman sa akin yun eh.”

“At the same time, kababalik ko lang (sa ROS) eh, so, alam mo yun, gigil ako na makapaglaro ulit,” he was quick to add. “Sana pabalikin kami ng maaga, pero kung hindi, we need to sacrifice din, pareho ko namang gusto yun eh, pangarap ko din yun. Kung ano pagu-usapan ng management, sila na bahala.”

Whether he makes it back earlier or not, Almazan is excited to finally play against former coach Yeng Guiao after failing to do so in the two teams' first meeting of the season in the PBA Philippine Cup.


“Whatever happens, maglalaro ako sa Friday,” Almazan said. “Gusto ko kung ano ang sasabihin niya (Guiao) sa akin, kung gagawin niya ba yung mga ginagawa niya sa mga ibang player niya, pag nasa loob na ako ng court, sinasabihan niya ako lagi ng, ‘Tanga, tanga! Bobo ka!’ Titingnan ko kung gagawin niya sa akin yun.”

“Siguro nami-miss na siyang sigawan ni coach Yeng,” Garcia added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos