F GILAS-ables: Raymond Almazan - Powcast Sports

GILAS-ables: Raymond Almazan

“GILAS-ables” is a series of articles that will discuss different players who could make a case for joining the Gilas pool. This series will include Fil-foreign players plying their trade in other leagues, the US NCAA, and the PBA.

In the second article in this series, we take a look at a young player with a huge upside: Rain Or Shine’s fast rising sophomore forward, Raymond Almazan.

Name: Almazan, Raymond
Team: Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters
Height: 6’ 9”
Weight: 194 lbs
College: Colegio de San Juan de Letran

6.8 points per game, 5.67 rebounds per game, .61 assists per game, .88 blocks per game

2015 Season:
9 points per game, 7.45 rebounds per game, 1 assist per game, 1 block per game

If you go by the numbers, there’s no way Raymond Almazan should be given a slot at the Gilas pool. There are just too many people who have better numbers, have more experience, have better reputations.

But if you look at the bigger picture, as well as the future of Gilas, there are loads of reasons to invest time and training in this young man. At 26, Almazan is still just approaching his prime playing years and if properly developed, he can be a monster on both offense and defense.

On offense, 9 points in 24 minutes is not a lot but you’ve got to remember that Rain Or Shine boasts of one of the truly team-oriented offenses in the league. In fact, only 5 points separate their leading scorer (Jericho Cruz with 14.71ppg in 24mins) from Almazan, their 6th leading scorer.

Almazan is 6’9” and reed thin but he’s also very mobile, capable of chasing down guards and blocking out bigs. He’s an accomplished defensive player who’s also learning to play physical, courtesy of his training under Extra Rice Inc (Beau Belga and JR Quinahan). He is also a ferocious rebounder, grabbing 7.5 rebounds in just 24 playing minutes. What’s even more impressive is he’s grabbing 2.5 of those rebounds on the offensive end, which means he’s finding ways to get position inside, even against bigger players.

He’s also had the benefit of playing for a coach like Yeng Guiao, who’s a certifiable tyrant. That means Almazan will be a disciplined player, capable of executing instructions under duress without cracking and able to withstand the hottest of tirades without wilting, which is important when the weight of a country’s expectations are suddenly laid on his coach’s shoulders.

However, Almazan needs to shine a lot more if he hopes to get even just a sniff of an invite to Gilas camp. The players he needs to prove himself against would be the likes of Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuua, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Marc Pingris, which is basically a murderer’s row of skilled power forwards. What he has going for him is that he’s young and has tons of upside, which bodes well for his chances moving forward.

Basically, Raymond Almazan could be the Junemar Fajardo from 2 years ago. When Fajardo started training with Gilas, he was barely used in games and struggled in his first two PBA conferences. Suddenly, the Gilas training turnd a light on in his head and he’s been dominating the PBA ever since. Imagine the same thing happening to Almazan, and, in two years’ time, having two 28year olds leading the Gilas frontline, one of whom is a 6-11 offensive juggernaut (Fajardo) and the other, a 6-9 defensive bastion (Almazan).

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