RAYMOND Almazan won't be able to suit up right away for Meralco in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
The lanky center said it will take at least two more weeks for him to get back to active duty and play his first game with his new ballclub.
Although Almazan has already recovered from the right calf injury that kept him out of action with Rain or Shine for the most of the Philippine Cup, the Orion, Bataan native said he still needs to undergo conditioning before getting back on the court again.
"Hindi kaya lang ng one week, iba kasi yung five-on-five (na laro)," said Almazan, who was traded by the Elasto Painters to the Bolts for a pair of first round picks in 2019 and 2021 prior to the mid-season conference.
As it is, Almazan won't see action when Meralco opens its campaign Sunday against Blackwater at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"Sinabi na rin ng PT namin (sa Rain or Shine) dati na at least two weeks bago ako makalaro ulit," he said.
Almazan is targeting a May 31 comeback game, a playdate which ironically will have Meralco taking on Rain or Shine.
"Oo nga eksaktong Rain or Shine pa ang kalaban namin," said the no. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft.
While meeting his former team would definitely add color to his possible debut game for the Bolts, all Almazan could care for is to get back on the court again.
"Gusto ko lang makalaro na ulit and comeback stronger. Sobrang excited na ako," said the former Letran standout.
The arrival of Almazan meant the Bolts finally plugging the big hole in the middle that had been the team's Achilles heel for so long.
Almazan is not about to put pressure on himself by playing as Meralco's savior. All he wants is to help the Bolts win.
"Gusto ko lang makatulong sa Meralco kung anuman yung kailangan nila," he said.(RG)