Rey Nambatac grateful for chance to showcase late-game guts for Rain or Shine
MANILA, Philippines—Rey Nambatac just proved that hard work will eventually reap anyone glory.
Despite being drafted no.7 overall in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, Nambatac wasn’t seen as a franchise changer especially when he arrived in a loaded Rain or Shine team that has Chris Tiu, James Yap, Gabe Norwood, and Maverick Ahanmisi in the guard and wing positions.
Nambatac, however, displayed a tenacity of someone about to strike gold and this slow grind eventually earned him head coach Caloy Garcia’s trust to put him in late-game situations.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s alum showed unflappable calm in the final three minutes of Rain or Shine’s 107-100 win over NorthPort in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’m glad that coach has slowly given me the break,” said Nambatac in Filipino. “And whenever I’m in the game I just try to fill in the gaps and those are hustle and defense and I never veer away from my role in the team.”
“I just play my game and whenever I’m in the court I just focus on what I have to do and read the situation so I can do whatever I have to do to get the lead and for us to get momentum.”
After James Yap’s gutsy three-pointer over Paolo Taha gave the Elasto Painters a 102-100 lead with 2:50 to play, Nambatac showed his aggressive side by pestering ball handlers and getting to the line a couple of times.
Nambatac was able to steal the ball from Sean Anthony resulting in a split from the stripe for the 103-100 lead just 16 seconds after Yap’s three.
The sophomore guard once again got a steal, this time at the expense of Stanley Pringle, but his jump shot at the 1:43 mark failed to get in.
Nambatac, however, eventually iced the game from the free throw line hitting two of his freebies with 15 seconds left for Rain or Shine’s 104-100 lead.
And in some sort of butterfly effect, Nambatac’s bigger role with the team came with Tiu’s retirement right before the start of the conference.
“Actually I’ve been preparing myself for Chris’ retirement because once that happens I could get a bigger role with the team,” said Nambatac who finished with 11 points, four rebounds, and two steals.
“Of course it’s hard to fill in Chris’ role so, for me, I’ll just stick on defense because that really is my bread and butter.”
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