Rey Nambatac repays coach’s trust with clutch performance for Rain or Shine
MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine was adamant that its first game in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup against Blackwater wouldn’t end in futility.
Down a sizeable margin in the final minute and a half, the Elasto Painters fought back with all their might and in the middle of it all was Rey Nambatac who willed his team to an 83-80 Game 1 win.
Nambatac had his hands all over the Elasto Painters’ 11-0 run that closed the game out, including a game-winning triple with 2.3 seconds left put them closer to a semifinals berth.
“During that time all I was thinking to myself was give myself the confidence because Blackwater was up in the last two minutes but we didn’t give up,” said Nambatac in Filipino Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“I took my confidence from my teammates because they never gave up so I also needed to work hard because I know it will produce good things for me and that was the game-winning shot.”
Nambatac’s first clutch play of the game was his assist to Carl Montgomery with 1:27 left that closed the gap for Rain or Shine, 80-75, before he followed it up with a steal-to-layup conversion just 13 seconds later to cut the Elite’s lead to three, 80-77.
Rain or Shine Caloy Garcia then called a timeout with 47 seconds left, settiing up Nambatac to dictate the possession and the 25-year-old guard delivered as he dished out to Gabe Norwood for the three that tied the game, 80-all, with 38.6 seconds remaining.
Just like a storybook ending, Nambatac sealed the deal with that gorgeous triple from the left wing over the defense of Roi Sumang.
“Before I shot the three, I looked at the clock and saw that it was winding down and Sumang tried to close out that allowed me to fake and create space to shoot,” said Nambatac who had 13 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
“I know that even though it was far away I had the confidence that coach Caloy gave me. He’s given me the free will to do what I want on the floor and I want to repay his and my teammates’ trust.”
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