DENIED a chance to face his old coach in Yeng Guiao last conference after suffering a calf injury, Raymond Almazan wasn't going to let this chance slip by.
Almazan not only did get to face the NLEX eam of his former coach, he also went toe to toe with an old friend and former teammate in Wayne Chism in his first game back after missing the closing stretch of the PBA Philippine Cup.
He was rocking and rolling.
Almazan finished with 18 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting in just 21 minutes in Rain or Shine's 113-105 victory over NLEX in the Commissioner's Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Not even missing three Rain or Shine practices due to his Gilas duties could stop Almazan from showing what exactly he can do when healthy.
"Sabi ko gusto ko talaga maglaro, kahit na nasa training camp ako, di nga ako nakapag-practice, sabi lang ni coach Caloy (Garcia) sakin, 'Mag-ready ka lang,' at wag ko rin daw masyado pilitin injury ko," Almazan said.
"Happy ako nakabalik na ako pero yung timing wala pa tiyaka yung conditioning. Pansin niyo naman after mga five minutes parang gusto ko na magpa-sub," he added.
Almazan bared that his familiarity with Chism's game also helped.
Almazan scored two crucial baskets on Chism, including an impressive fly-by move where he faked off the returning reinforcement, before driving into the lane and finishing strong with the left hand.
"Nung naging import si Wayne dun medyo rin ako ginamit. Lagi rin niya akong sinasabihan, tinuturan so malaking bagay sakin yun," Almazan said.
"Sinabi ko na I'm gonna stop him. Yan yung sinasabi ko sa kanya. Nagaasaran din kami tuwing nakaka-shoot," he added.
The former Letran center said it was weird seeing Guiao on the other bench, but insisted nothing much has changed for Rain or Shine since the coach's departure.
The bond that Guiao instilled in the team during his time in charge is still there, Almazan said.
"Maganda nilaro ko dahil sa mga teammates ko e... pag open samin ganun pa rin naman, tira lang. Sa sistema namin pag libre, tira. Pag feeling mo kaya mo umiskor di wala naman samin sisihan e," Almazan continued.
"Magkamali ka, baba ka lang. Hindi naman yung pag nagkamali ka, sisihin ka. Wala naman nagbago kahit nawala na si Coach Yeng."