|Raymond Almazan had an MRI at the Makati Medical Center following his knee injury. Ivan Saldajeno|
By Ivan Saldajeno
QUEZON CITY--Prior to the PBA Governors' Cup Finals, many thought Meralco finally got the inside presence it needs to battle Ginebra's big men in Raymond Almazan.
But the best-of-seven series took a dramatic and potentially crucial turn early into Game 3 when Almazan hurt his left knee while trying to stop Japeth Aguilar.
[Related Story: Huge blow for Meralco as Raymond Almazan suffers knee injury]
Almazan never returned to the game, and worse, Coach Norman Black said afterward that the six-foot-seven center could be done for the series.
"We found out at halftime that we probably would lose Raymond possibly for the rest of the series," Black said.
Although the Bolts still managed to keep the game tight for the rest of the first half, Almazan's absence was felt in the third quarter, when the Barangay dropped 35 points to open a 20-point lead.
"From my viewpoint, they came out of the locker room really flat," Black told what he observed with his players during the halftime break. "The guys were a little bit down and lacked the energy and intensity going into the third quarter."
It turned to be enough for Ginebra to hang on as Meralco's fourth quarter rally came up short, and the latter conceded the 84-92 defeat at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
[Related Story: Ginebra storms past Meralco to retake Governors' Cup Finals lead]
Almazan quickly left the arena, and according to Black, he went to the Makati Medical Center despite the current weather condition due to the Taal Volcano eruption to have an MRI for the extent of the knee injury. But based on what Almazan told Black at halftime, it looks like it may be a bad one.
"When I talked to him at halftime of the game, he couldn't move his leg, and being a former player myself, that's never a good sign," Black bared. "Having a swollen knee in the middle of a championship series is not something you can just bounce back from easily."
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno