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Almazan out to rock ’em all

Raymond Almazan vows to make up for his controversial disappearance late last season and help Rain or Shine regain its bearings in the season-opening PBA Philippine Cup.

Almazan caused a stir in the Governors’ Cup when he left the team without formal notice, but was able to patch things up with management amid trade rumors prior to the end of the conference.

Though everything seems to be fine for both parties, Almazan is eager to redeem himself once the Elasto Painters troop to the floor against the NLEX Road Warriors in their first match on Jan. 18 at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“I’m determined to do whatever I can for the team, also for the management because what happened before was really embarrassing. I’m just excited to go out there and play,” Almazan said in Filipino during the PBA Media Day at The Tent at Solaire in Paranaque City.

Having Almazan back gives the Elasto Painters enough depth as they aim to get back on winning track after a rollercoaster campaign the previous year.

Rain or Shine was eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year’s Philippine Cup, made it to the semifinals of the Commissioner’s Cup before missing the playoffs of the Governors’ Cup.

The Elasto Painters enter the year minus Chris Tiu, who announced his retirement after six pro seasons earlier this week, but has added rookies Javee Mocon and J-Jay Alejandro through the draft.

Almazan joins Rain or Shine’s core players that include Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood and James Yap.

‘PING’ EAGER TO RETURN

Meantime, Magnolia captain Marc Pingris hopes to make a comeback as early as next month from an ACL injury that forced him to miss the last two conferences of last year’s PBA campaign.

Pingris has yet to join full-scale practices with the team since tearing his left knee in Game 1 of the Hotshots’ Philippine Cup semifinal match against the NLEX Road Warriors, thus keeping the 14-year veteran noncommital about a definite timetable.

“I’ll try to make a return next month or in March,” Pingris said in Filipino during Thursday’s PBA Media Day at The Tent at Solaire in Paranaque City.

The Hotshots won’t make their season-opening Philippine Cup debut until Feb. 3 when they take on TNT KaTropa at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City, giving Pingris enough time to catch up.

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