by Waylon Galvez
Game Sunday (Veldrome Saryarka, Astana, Kazakhstan)
8:30 p.m. – Philippines vs Kazakhstan
DOHA, Qatar – Gilas Pilipinas mentor Yeng Guiao isn’t too optimistic on having Raymond Almazan on the national team roster against Kazakhstan on Sunday due to a sprained left ankle he sustained in preparation for the sixth and last window of FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
“He has missed practices, and he’s been behind (in our training),” Guiao said Thursday morning. “It would be hard and difficult for him to catch up even for the Kazakhstan game. But we’ll see.”
Almazan suffered the injury when he twisted his ankle after he went for a layup during training last Sunday night, and despite efforts to fast track his recovery, his foot is still swollen until now.
It was the same ankle that Almazan hurt five days before the opening of the PBA Philippine Cup last Jan. 13, forcing him to miss two games of league leader Rain or Shine.
Because of Almazan’s health condition, and with Roger Pogoy still serving his last suspension from a five-game ban handed by FIBA, the 12 remaining players on the training pool were automatically named to the lineup for the Qatar game, including college stalwart Thirdy Ravena.
The encounter between the Philippines and Qatar is scheduled at 12 a.m. Friday Manila time at the Al Gharafa Sports Club Multi Purpose Hall here, while the match of Gilas against Kazakhstan is on Sunday in Astana.
Almazan has been doing a few workouts with Dexter Aseron, the team’s physical therapist.
The veteran center of Rain or Shine remains hopeful to play against Kazakhstan.
“I’m in proper mindset,” said Almazan, who – between his workout with Aseron – was shouting plays to Gilas teammates in an effort to still continue helping the team though he is not participating in drills.
“I don’t feel bad that it happened, hindi maiiwasan yung injury e. Wish ko lang makabalik ako against Kazakhstan. Feeling ko naman mabilis yung recovery e, sana makabalik ako,” he added.
Almazan has played several games for Gilas in the previous windows of these qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, but has not seen action in the last two games when the event was held in the country.
Guiao included Almazan on this 14-man training pool in hopes to add ceiling at frontline alongside reigning PBA five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Mamerto Mondragon, a former PBA chairman representing Rain or Shine, said he wants to see Almazan play against Kazakhstan but only if healthy. If not, he prefers for his player to rest.
I am really impressed with your writing talents as neatly as with the layout in your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the nice high quality writing, it?s rare to peer a nice blog like this one these days..