RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said Raymond Almazan gave up at least 20 pounds to each of the three Ginebra big men he faced on Saturday night.
But he has no doubt who has the bigger heart.
“He (Almazan) was at least 20 pounds lighter than his opponents, but he just kept fighting. That’s a good sign of maturity,” said Guiao of his reed-thin slotman, who was named Best Player of the Game at the end of Rain or Shine's 92-91 victory over Ginebra in their PBA Commissioner's Cup playoff game.
Guiao has all the reasons to be proud of the three-year slotman out of Letran, who more than held his own while battling seven-footer Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and import Michael Dunigan in the fourth quarter of a see-sawing game that was not decided until the final seconds.
The 6-7 center from Orion, Bataan scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and showed a lot of guts when he swished a three-pointer at he height of the fierce battle, just moments after throwing up an airball from beyond the arc.
Almazan said he had the courage to take that shot because Guiao gave him the license to shoot, so long as he is open.
“Tumitira na naman ako nung college pa, saka sinasabi naman ni coach, 'Itira mo kung libre ka.' So kahit naman mag-miss ka dyan, sinasabi ni coach, 'Basta kapag libre ka, itira mo, huwag ka mag-hesitate,'” said Almazan, who went 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
“Relax lang daw ako sabi ni Beau saka use your head. Kasi maganda na daw nilalaro ko saka iinisin ka nila, kaya ako, nag-step-up lang naman,” said the 25-year-old former NCAA MVP.
“Lagi akong ready kahit saan naman. Eh nung fourth quarter na, medyo nauubos na big men namin so nag-ready lang. Eh bigla akong hinugot ni coach. Sabi ko nga, wala ng bukas."