NOT even an injury that could force him to miss his first game against coach Yeng Guiao could spoil the euphoria Raymond Almazan has been feeling since wife Liza gave birth to their firstborn child on Wednesday noon.
Attending Rain or Shine practice nearly sleepless after welcoming a bouncing baby boy the couple named Rayl Jacob, the Elasto Painters slotman still appeared so pumped up that he hurt the calf muscle on his left leg in a play where they reviewed an offensive set.
“Wala mapaglagyan yung saya ko. Sobrang inspired ko, na-injury tuloy ako,” Almazan said in a chat with a couple of scribes after practice on Thursday. “Sobrang aggressive ko. Nakakainis.”
“Sana hindi naman (matagal yung injury), kasi puyat din kasi, nag-aalaga sa baby,” he added. “Hindi naman sa walang tulog, siguro paputol-putol lang, kasi kailangan gumising. Kailangan pag-pahingahin mo rin yung misis mo kasi nakakaawa rin.”
But the injury comes on the eve of the E-Painters’ anticipated Philippine Cup matchup against Guiao, who’s now at the helm of NLEX.
“Sabi nga ni Beau (Belga), baka natatakot lang ako na harapin (si coach Yeng),” Almazan said with a chuckle. “Sabi ko, hindi. Gusto ko nga siya pakitaan eh, kaso nangyayari yang mga ganyan.”
Almazan has been the anchor of the E-Painters, norming 13 points on 69.2-percent shooting and 11.6 boards in just 23.2 minutes in his first five games in the post-Guiao era. He is one of only two players to average a double-double this conference so far, the other being June Mar Fajardo.
Despite the regret of being doubtful to play against the coach who took him with the third pick in the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft, the dominant feeling is still bliss for the 6-foot-8 beanpole.
Third time’s the charm for the Almazan family as they finally received their bundle of joy after Liza suffered a second miscarriage last year around the time of the last all-Filipino conference.
“After six years of trying, yun finally,” Raymond said, adding his wife gave birth a week ahead of schedule.
“Sobrang happy. Wala na akong mahihiling pa,” the 27-year-old cager said. “Siguro yung mabigayn ko na lang siya ng magandang buhay tsaka tumagal ako sa PBA para mabigyan ko siya ng maayos na buhay. Masaya na ako dun.”