RAIN or Shine will be without its best big man on Friday night against a team that boasts the best big man in the PBA.
Raymond Almazan is set to miss his third straight game due to a calf injury as the Elasto Painters take on June Mar Fajardo and San Miguel Beer in a Philippine Cup clash at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After their 97-82 win over Phoenix last Sunday, RoS coach Caloy Garcia was hopeful to get the 6-foot-8 Almazan back in action for their marquee matchup against the defending champion Beermen.
But the pain on Almazan’s calf, which he hurt in a practice before their game against coach Yeng Guiao and NLEX, has lingered.
“He was cleared to play, but then nung practice nung Tuesday, medyo nararamdaman pa rin niya yung pain, so we just told him to stop muna,” Garcia said after practice on the eve of the 7 p.m. matchup.
“He has to rest,” he added. “I think medyo tatagal pa siya ng konti, kasi medyo pabalik-balik yung injury, so I just told him it’s better for him to rest, kasi bata pa siya eh, so mahirap na pilit-pilitin, baka matuluyan pa.”
Garcia said Almazan, who hasn’t attended the E-Painters’ last two practice sessions, had his injury checked out again on Thursday.
“He has to get a second opinion para sa clearance niya,” the RoS coach said. “Sa nakikita ko paano siya maglakad, parang hindi talaga kaya eh.”
The unfortunate development leaves the brunt of the task to defend Fajardo on Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferrada, Jay Washington, and Dexter Maiquez.
“We have to find ways to stop June Mar,” Garcia said.