IT was long in coming, but it definitely was worth the wait for rookie Raymond Almazan.
Ten games into the PLDTmyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup, the 6-foot-7 Almazan finally had his breakout game with Rain or Shine after posting his first career double-double as a pro with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Elasto Painters 101-77 whipping of San Mig Super Coffee Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The native of Orion, Bataan also added two block shots in a performance he credited to teammate Beau Belga who he said patiently helped him adjust to the PBA way of life.
They Said It!
“Sila Michael Jordan nga at Scottie Pippen, lahat sila, may mga games na talagang struggle din. Naka-mind set lang ako na one of these days, mapapakita ko din ang talent ko in the PBA and will be dealt with severely." - Raymond Almazan, Elasto Painters center and the PBA 2013 Rokie Draft third overall pick
“Basta ako ready lang. Si Beau, mentor ko na lagi nandyan, every single time na nagkakamali ako, siya nag-re-remind sa akin,” said the reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player from Letran.
With Belga in sickbay, Almazan was quick to pounce on the opportunity and contribute.
“Siguro pagkawala niya (Belga), chance ko na ipakita ang best ko. Saka nag-pay off din sa game ngayon. Hopefully, sa next games, maipakita ko pa sa laro,” he added.
Almazan admitted expectations were high on him after he was selected third overall in the recent Rookie Draft.
But the difficult transition process from the amateur to the pros has made him more of a liability than an asset on defense in the Elasto Painters’ first few games.
Still, the soft-spoken big man said he is always reminded of the humble beginnings of such NBA legends like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
“Ganun naman ang mga players eh. Eh sila Michael Jordan nga at Scottie Pippen, lahat sila, may mga games na talagang struggle din. Naka-mind set lang ako na one of these days, mapapakita ko din ang talent ko,” he said.
Rain or Shine will have one more practice on Monday before taking a two-day New Year’s break.