Almazan’s absence greatly felt by Meralco in Game 3 loss
MANILA, Philippines—Raymond Almazan has been the answer to Meralco’s frontline woes.
The lanky center is a major part of the Bolts’ success that’s why when he went down with an injury in Game 3, his team came crashing down as well.
Almazan suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter of Game 3 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals and was unable to play the rest of the way as Ginebra feasted on the shorthanded Bolts.
Without the defensive ace Almazan in the middle, the Gin Kings faced little resistance in the paint to take a 92-84 win and a 2-1 series lead Sunday night at Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s a big blow. Raymond has been playing great this series,” said Allen Durham.
“Rebounding, defense, putback scoring. So it’s definitely a big loss, but you now, we’ll see if he can come back, but if not then everybody else has got to step up.”
Almazan, whose status remains uncertain heading into Game 4 on Wednesday, averaged 17.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in the first two games of the series.
His absence also allowed Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar to own the shaded area.
Aguilar already had nine points when the 6-foot-7 Almazan was playing but he turned things up a notch after the injury.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar went on to finish with 23 points, on 9-of-14 shooting, and seven blocks.
“Japeth pretty much ran wild out there on the court, so what he (Almazan) has done this conference is giving us an opportunity to match up with the big men of the other teams,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black.
“Without him, we almost got a little bit of a hole in the middle, so we just have to try to find a way to camouflage or at least try to fix it.”