RAYMOND Almazan will have to wait longer before he can wear the Philippine colors.
The Rain or Shine big man has failed to secure a release from team management for national duty, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin confirmed after practice on Monday night.
“They’re not prepared to release him and we fully understand that,” Baldwin said.
“Raymond has a future in Gilas,” the American-Kiwi mentor added. “But it’s a very big demand for four players from one PBA team to be given up even for one-night-a-week practice.”
Gilas has had talks on Almazan’s availability with the Elasto Painters management, which has already allowed Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, and Paul Lee to join the pool that’s preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
“(There’s) no tongue in cheek, no secret agendas on the side,” Baldwin stressed. “We really appreciate having Gabe, Paul, and Jeff in the pool. We’d love to have Raymond. But for this point in time, it’s not going to happen.”
Baldwin understands the E-Painters predicament in the Commissioner’s Cup where they are below .500 with a 2-3 win-loss record.
“They didn’t get off to the best start and they want to right the ship and get their team moving in the right direction, he said.
“So I think rather than trying to point fingers, we have to be sympathetic,” the national coach added. “We have to understand that we’re asking an awful lot and they have answered that call significantly. So let’s be happy with that and know that Raymond’s time will come.”