Nov 26, 2020

Unmindful of body aches, Almazan primes up for sudden-death game

SMART Clark Giga City - It's Game 5 and a berth in the PBA Philippine Cup finals is at stake.

For Raymond Almazan, the body aches and pains will have to be momentarily set aside.

"Saka na muna yang sakit ng katawan," he said. "Set aside muna lahat yan. Intindihin muna namin yung game namin this Friday."

The lanky Meralco center was partly responsible for knotting the Bolts' best-of-five semis series against Barangay Ginebra Kings after pulling off a crucial defensive play in the waning seconds of Wednesday's Game 4 at the Angeles University Foundation gym (powered by Smart 5G).

Almazan's shot block on Stanley Pringle underneath the Barangay Ginebra basket led to a breakaway basket by Chris Newsome to give Meralco the 83-80 win and forge a do-or-die encounter for a spot in the best-of- seven championship.

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The sudden-death is set at 6:45 p.m. on Friday.

Actually, the 31-year-old Almazan was only fielded back in the last 22 seconds of the game and Meralco trailing by a point, 80-79.

He was pulled out with less than five minutes remaining after going down from an accidental hit by Japeth Aguilar on his jaw.

But with the Bolts' season on the line, Almazan, who is coming off from a knee surgery before entering the bubble, said it was not the proper time to think about the body aches.

"Kaya ko naman kasi hindi naman yung bibig ko ang maglalaro, e. Yung paa ko naman ang tatakbo at tsaka yung kamay ko naman ang dedepensa," he said.

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Almazan finished with 11 points and three rebounds, plus that gem of a block on Pringle.

Now he looks forward doing an encore for Meralco as it tries to make the All-Filipino finals for the first time in franchise history.

Even with body aches and all.(RG)