RAYMOND Almazan will play out his final year with Letran Knights despite the arrival of a new coach and uncertainty over the team’s best player who has yet to decide on whether to return next season.
The vastly improved Almazan said the appointment of Caloy Garcia and possible changes to the team's make-up the new coach is set to implement won't keep him from playing his fourth season with the Knights.
“Tatapusin ko ang playing year ko,” the controversial 6-foot-7 slotman told Spin.ph following a recent game in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup. “Gusto ko maglaro.”
Last season, Almazan mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the NCAA season, but came back just in time to play a major role in the Knights’ run to the finals where they were stopped by San Beda.
Almazan averaged 6.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and a league-best 1.9 blocks in 16 games last season.
Following their defeat in the finals, longtime head coach Louie Alas, the same person that took Almazan to the Knights, stepped down from his post.
Almazan, playing for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in the current PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, expressed his willingness to learn Garcia’s system.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi pa ako nag-eensayo sa team. Okay naman si coach Caloy, he is a good coach. Nakasama ko na siya sa PC Gilmore, nagkakilala na kami. Okay naman siya,” Almazan said.
The Knights are also facing the possibility that their star player Kevin Alas will not return to the squad as he looks to focus on his stint with Gilas Pilipinas.
But Almazan is unperturbed about the possibility but expressed hope that Alas will return.
“Kung wala si Kevin, ganoon talaga, tatanggapin na lang kung priority niya talaga ang Smart Gilas. Kung babalik naman si Kevin, dagdag sa amin ‘yun kasi siya ang superstar ng team,” said Almazan.