Beau Belga tips his hat to Rey Nambatac, Elasto Painters for clutch showing
MANILA, Philippines—Rain or Shine’s Beau Belga was ready to accept a series-opening loss against Blackwater in the three-game quarterfinals series in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but what he saw from his teammates changed that.
The Elasto Painters escaped with the 83-80 Game 1 win but that nearly didn’t happen if not for the heroics of Rey Nambatac in the final minute and a half.
Nambatac drew a masterpiece in the closing minutes leading Rain or Shine to an 11-0 run to erase the Elite’s 80-72 lead, and Belga just had to tip his hat to everyone in his team.
“I salute my teammates because I almost gave up and I even said that we should just take Game 2 but my teammates showed that they won’t give up that we still have a chance,” said Belga in Filipino Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“When we tied the game, I knew that we would fight until the end. We played tough defense on the last possession and coach Caloy [Garcia] drew up a play for a sideline inbound that opened up Rey. Salute, salute to my teammates.”
Nambatac had his hand in every point of the Elasto Painters’ game-closing run first with an assist for Carl Montgomery’s triple that cut the deficit to five, 80-75, and he followed that up with a steal-to-layup conversion to put Rain or Shine to within three, 80-77, with 1:24 remaining.
With less than a minute remaining, Nambatac drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Gabe Norwood for the game-tying three, 80-80, with 38.6 seconds left.
Nambatac then finished off his performance with the game-winning triple from the left wing with 2.3 seconds to play.
Belga said Nambatac displayed utmost composure in the clutch and the 25-year-old displayed his veteran wits despite playing in the league for only three years.
“He’s learned how to play in the clutch where he shouldn’t be rattled and Rey showed that,” said Belga. “When Rey shot the dagger I know I have to salute him, he’s fearless.”