RAYMOND Almazan nearly tallied a double-double in his return to the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series after missing Game 4 due to an ankle sprain.
Raymond Almazan returns from injury
Almazan chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds in the Bolts’ 102-98 win over Magnolia on Wednesday to stay alive in their title bid.
Almazan gave Meralco a huge lift despite the injury, still visibly in pain and appeared to have aggravated the ankle sprain in Game 5.
The Meralco center even sealed the victory, hitting two crucial free throws with 7.4 seconds left to extend the gap to four points.
Meralco coach Norman Black said Almazan has been one of the key players to the run of theirs this conference, and his absence was felt when they lost, 81-69, last Sunday.
“Raymond is one of the main reasons why we are here in the semifinals,” said Black. “He gives us a big man that can contend with the other big men in the league. When he went down with an injury early in the series, it hurts us a great deal.
“Of course, you can’t sulk and cry about it. Just have to go with what you have and win with what you have. It’s a big lift for us to have him back,” said Black.
Black is only hoping that Almazan will be able to play come Game 6 where the Bolts will seek to send the semifinals into a rubber match.
“I hope he did not reinjure his injury today and I hope he is ready to play on Friday for us,” said Black.
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