MANILA, Philippines -- Raymond Almazan has recovered from a knee injury he suffered in the PBA Governors' Cup Finals in January, but his status remains day-to-day for the Meralco Bolts.
Almazan is part of the Bolts' line-up for the 2020 Philippine Cup in the bubble, but he did not suit up in their first game of the conference -- a 116-98 shellacking at the hands of the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.
"Raymond is day-to-day," Meralco coach Norman Black said Tuesday during a media availability session at the Quest Hotel at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. "He is healed already, he's actually OK."
Almazan suffered a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee in Game 3 of the Governors' Cup Finals, which hampered him in Game 4 and kept him from playing in Game 5, wherein Barangay Ginebra closed out the Bolts.
His absence was a big blow for Meralco, as Almazan had been matching up with eventual Finals MVP Japeth Aguilar while backing up import Allen Durham inside the paint.
According to Black, they are being patient with Almazan as he only joined Meralco practice a week ago.
"Today (Tuesday) will probably be his sixth practice in the last seven months," he said. "So be a little bit patient with him. We look at Raymond as a long term investment, not a short-term investment."
"So we wanna make sure that he's completely healed. More importantly, that he's completely comfortable with his leg already," Black added. "The only way that's gonna happen is through actually getting him out there and getting 5-on-5 practice against other people."
Meralco's medical staff is monitoring Almazan to determine when he can play, but Black expects the big man to be back on the court sooner rather than later.
"I would imagine it would be a day to day basis. It could be tomorrow, it could be Sunday against Ginebra, but he'll be back very, very soon," he said.
Almazan averaged 14.5 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in his first season for Meralco after coming over via trade from Rain or Shine.
Meralco will try to bounce back on Wednesday against Alaska, which also lost their opening day assignment against TNT Tropang Giga.