Meralco coach Norman Black is expecting a better finish in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup with big man Raymond Almazan on their side starting May 19.
“We are very happy to bring Almazan into the Meralco team because at 6’8, we feel he is one of the best big men in the league and size has been one of the things we have been lacking especially in the All-Filipino conference,” Black told The Manila Times via text message.
The league has approved the trade between Meralco and Rain or Shine on Tuesday without any revisions.
“Now that the trade is done, we are aiming for a much better finish this conference.”
Rain or Shine traded Almazan in exchange of two first round picks in the 2019 and 2021 Philippine Basketball Association rookie drafts.
Almazan, a former Letran Knight center, had a volatile relationship with his former coach Caloy Garcia.
“We understand that we are paying a premium price for the trade, but the way we look at it, Almazan is just replacing our first round pick next year,” said Black, noting that Almazan will perfectly complement their American-Nigerian import Gani Lawal inside the paint.
“Our import Gani Lawal is a pretty solid player who plays very well inside the paint. So with the addition of Almazan, it just makes our interior much stronger and gives us a chance to be more competitive,” Black explained.
Meralco made it to the best-of-three quarterfinals in the last Commissioner’s Cup but was eliminated by defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
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