RAIN or Shine suffered a major blow in its Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against San Miguel Beer as Raymond Almazan will be sidelined for at least two weeks due to a sprained right ankle.
The 6-foot-8 beanpole, the team’s tallest player and among those tasked to defend June Mar Fajardo, stepped on teammate Jewel Ponferrada’s foot in practice on the eve of Game Three.
“We lost Raymond for this series, but I'm hoping we're able to extend this series long enough so that he can contribute, but again, the chances of that happening look bleak,” Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao said after his team won Game Three Saturday night, 111-106, for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven semis series.
Almazan’s injury appears so serious he couldn’t walk to the venue even just to watch Game Three.
The development leaves Beau Belga, JR Quiñahan, and Ponferrada to guard the 6-foot-10 Fajardo.
Making matters worse, Jericho Cruz also hurt his left knee after a collision with SMB sniper Marcio Lassiter near the end of the game.
“I'm hoping Jericho's injury isn't really serious, but from the looks of it, it's not looking good, at least in our standpoint on the bench when it happened,” Guiao said.
Cruz was brought to Cardinal Santos Medical Center for checkup after the game.
“We're paying a big cost for this series, but that's how it is,” Guiao said. “We're willing to pay that cost and take up the challenge.”