RAYMOND Almazan showed the way for Rain or Shine in its knockout match against TNT for a place in the semifinals of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
The ever-improving 6-foot-6 center finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 104-89 rout at the Mall of Asia.
The former Letran stalwart must have made so big an impression that he got an invitation from no less than Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin to join the national team in practice shortly after the game.
And Almazan made no mincemeat about his desire to be part of Gilas – just even in training.
“Isang tawag lang sa akin nandito na ako. Every player naman talaga dream ‘yun,” said Almazan afterwards. “Pag humindi ka run, tanga ka talaga.”
Baldwin later said everything is not yet cast in stone as the decision entails on Almazan's mother team and the entire organization (PBA).
The three-year pro said he’s very grateful for the invitation from the American-New Zealander, who, he said has been trying to get him even before hand.
“Sabi ko lang it’s my pleasure coach na makapaglaro for the national team,” he said. “Ako talaga, hindi ako hihindi.”
Almazan was so happy he told Baldwin he’s just a call away.
“Sobrang saya ko, nagulat talaga ko kaya sabi ko, 'Thank you coach. Just call me coach,” he said.