SOUGHT-AFTER big man Raymund Almazan is simply shrugging off the rumor about him being the next key player on the trading list for Rain or Shine.
Almazan said his loyalty remains with the Elasto Painters, the very same team which selected him third overall during the 2013 PBA rookie draft, although the 6-foot-8 Letran alum made it clear he’s ready to accept wherever fate would bring him.
In fairness, Rain or Shine, according to Almazan, has assured him the trade talks aren't true.
“Siyempre mahal ko yung team ko. Pero magtataka ka kung bakit may lumalabas na ganun. Sobrang daming lumalabas na issue, hindi ko alam kung bakit,” he confided to SPIN.ph.
Almazan said he already talked about the matter to coach Caloy Garcia, who assured him that Rain or Shine is not looking to deal him to other teams.
“Nag-usap kami ni Coach Caloy at nakakagaan naman ng loob na hindi naman totoo,” he added. “Kasi kahit na ba sabihin mong rumors lang yun, may mga lumalabas kasi.”
The Elasto Painters went on a trading frenzy at the tail end of the PBA Philippine Cup and during the season break when they dealt two members of their 2016 Commissioner’s Cup champion team.
They first sent Jericho Cruz to TnT Katropa for rookie Sidney Onwubere, Kris Rosales, and a 2018 first round pick.
Later on, the team consummated another deal with the Katropa by acquiring big man Norbert Torres for defensive guard Don Trollano.
But it’s Almazan who has long been on the trade radar of other teams, especially with big man June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel becoming the barometer of success in the league nowadays.
“Nagugulat nga ako na may trade na ganito, ganyan. One week may ganitong usap, tapos another week meron na namang bago,” he said.
“Pero siyempre professional tayo. Kung 'yun ang ibibigay ng tadhana wala akong magagawa,” said the former NCAA MVP. “Kung sakaling ano 'yung mapuntahan kong team, ibibigay ko 'yung best ko siyempre, lalo ngayon lumalaki 'yung baby ko so kailangan kong magtrabaho.”
Almazan is expected to play a key role in Rain or Shine’s title bid in the Commissioner’s Cup, where it kicks off its campaign this weekend against Alaska.
Former Asean Basketball League (ABL) Best Import burly Reggie Johnson will reinforce the Elasto Painters in the second conference.