SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – It was never-say-die the Raymond Almazan way.
The lanky big man came back after an accidental hit on the jaw and pulled off the biggest defensive job for Meralco in Game 4 when he blocked the potential go-ahead basket of Barangay Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle that allowed the Bolts to escape with an 83-80 win and even up the two teams’ PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Wednesday night.
Though still hurting, Almazan was sent in the final 21 seconds and the Bolts trailing, 79-80, and like a good soldier, did what was expected of him.
He had to go out at the 4:55 mark when Aguilar accidentally hit him with an elbow.
“Tinanong ako ni coach kung OK ako,” he said. “Kaya naman kasi hindi naman yung bibig ko ang maglalaro, e. Yung paa ko naman ang tatakbo at tsaka yung kamay ko naman ang dedepensa.”
That’s what exactly Almazan did.
Shortly after veteran Reynel Hugnatan nailed a jumper to give the Bolts the lead, 81-80, Almazan stymied a Pringle drive to the hoop, paving the way for Chris Newsome to score on a breakaway lay-up for the marginal score.
Almazan finished with 11 points and three rebounds as the Bolts now look forward to their do-or-die encounter with the Kings on Friday for a berth in the finals.
“Sabi nga nila no pain nga, no gain,” the Meralco big man stressed.
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