RAYMOND Almazan said he holds no grudge against Rain or Shine and is in fact grateful to the ballclub for giving him the biggest break of his PBA playing career.
Although leaving the team that has been home for him in the past six years was not easy, the lanky big man said he just have to start over after being traded to Meralco this week.
“Ganoon talaga ang buhay. Hindi naman masama ang loob ko. Nagpapasalamat nga ako sa Rain or Shine dahil sila ang nag-alaga sa akin the past six years,” Almazan related to SPIN.ph a day after the Commissioner’s Office approved the trade of Almazan to the Bolts in exchanges for a pair of first-round draft picks (2019 and 2021).
The 29-year-old native of Orion, Bataan said he understands the move done by management, especially if it is for the welfare of the franchise.
“Ginagawa nila yung makakabuti para sa team. So kung sa tingin nila makakabuti para i-trade ako, wala akong magagawa doon. Hindi ko naman hawak yun. Pero nagpapasalamat pa rin ako ng malaki sa (Rain or Shine) management,” he said.
Almazan went to the Elasto Painters’ practice for the last time on Tuesday to say goodbye to the entire team, which has been home to him since being picked No. 3 overall in the 2013 rookie draft.
“Nakakalungkot din. Wala naman akong masasabi sa mga teammates ko. Siyempre sa management din talagang malaking pasasalamat,” he stressed.
He wasn’t informed about the trade becoming official until Tuesday afternoon. Shortly after, Almazan planned to show up at the Bolts’ practice at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, only to be advised that the team was at the Gatorade Hoops gym in Mandaluyong for a tune-up game against Alaska.
The former NCAA MVP from Letran though, had a chance to talk with Meralco coach Norman Black later in the night.
“Kinamusta niya ako, tapos tinanong niya ako kung happy daw ba ako. Sabi ko, ‘Of course, coach. Thank you for having me,’” said Almazan. “Sabi ko lang I will give my best to meet their expectations.’
Almazan has been out of commission with Rain or Shine for the most part of the Philippine Cup owing to a sprained ankle and a right calf injury.
But he said he’ll be ready to play for the Bolts come the Commissioner’s Cup that kicks off on May 19.
“Excited na ako maglaro tsaka makabalik sa court,” Almazan said.