RAYMOND Almazan, Letran’s prodigal son, has returned.
After over a month of unexplained absence, the 6-foot-7 beanpole finally resurfaced, appearing in the Knights’ NCAA men's basketball game against archrival San Beda on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
The 23-year-old Almazan said there was never a misunderstanding between him and the team, and insisted his disappearance was prompted by a bout with dengue fever and an old fracture on his right ankle.
“Wala namang ganun (misunderstanding sa team). Hindi lang ako nakapag-paalam ng maayos,” said Almazan, who has also been absent from all his classes at Letran where he was taking an Operations Management course.
Almazan’s wife, Liza, said contrary to her earlier statements to the team she had known where his husband was the whole time he went AWOL. She added the recent floods added to her husband's problems.
“Nagsabay-sabay na rin siguro,” said Liza, who sat beside Almazan while he was being interviewed inside the press room.
Aside from his wife, Almazan went to the game with cousin Kerby Raymundo, the Barangay Ginebra star center who was reportedly the one who convinced Almazan to come back.
For full story on his disappearance, click here.
Almazan, who contented himself watching the Knights play on television, said he had long wanted to rejoin the team but didn't do so because he felt too embarrassed to show up on campus.
“Willing na willing ako bumalik pero hindi ko alam saan magsimula,” Almazan said. “Step by step kasi yan eh.
“Masakit sa akin 'pag pinapanood ko ang team ko na natatalo.”
The Letran big man said he doesn’t expect a warm welcome from the team unlike the first time he went missing, and admitted he has to earn back the trust of everyone, especially coach Louie Alas.
“Hindi ganun kadali yun,” Almazan said. “Na-realize ko anong klaseng tao ako na nagawa ko 'yun.
“Kaya kahit anong ipagawa sa akin ngayon, kung ano man magiging role ko, tatanggapin ko.”