ALL along, Raymond Almazan thought he could get Talk ‘N Text players out of rhythm - and give Rain or Shine a leg up in the playoffs - by retaliating to every hit and shove.
The Rain or Shine big man finally realized he only doing more harm than good to his team.
Playing with a renewed focus, Almazan proved effective once again, sparking the Elasto Painters’ 101-93 win over the Tropang Texters in Game Six of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday night.
After a Game Five loss where his antics caused him to foul out after contributing just four points and five boards in 19 minutes, Almazan played honest defense and committed just two fouls on the way to tallying 18 points, making all but two of his 10 shots, and 10 boards.
He scored 11 points right in the first quarter, where the Painters established command.
“(Naisip) ko siguro na ‘wag na ako mag-retaliate,” the 200-lb. sophomore slotman admitted. “Basta laruin ko lang 'yung laro ko. Siguro lumabas na lang, kasi wala namang mangyayari kung makikipag-tirahan ka sa loob.”
Painters coach Yeng Guiao, who scolded Alamazan in Game Five for his antics, was glad to see his ward heed his call.
“Raymond Almazan played another excellent game, not only on offense, but he was there for defense, challenging shots by Ranidel and Jayson (Castro).”
With the 6-foot-8 beanpole out of Letran harassing him, de Ocampo scored 21 points but had to take 15 shots to reach his total as he made just five attempts for a paltry 33 percent — after going 25-of-39 shooting or 64.1 percent in the last two TNT wins.
“Ang taas rin ng field goal (percentage) ni kuya Ranidel,” the Orion, Bataan native said. “Idol ko talaga yun eh, so kailangan medyo bawasan ng konti. Hindi mo naman talaga kaya ma-stop eh. so kahit ma-lessen mo lang, okay na.”
As a result, Almazan is now within reach of a championship - something he has not achieved even during his years with Letran.
“Gusto ko mag-champion kasi laging finals na lang eh, parang laging banderang kapos,” said the Letran product, who has been to two NCAA Finals where the Knights would eventually bow to San Beda.