CLARK, PAMPANGA — It was Rey Nambatac whom Rain or Shine went to in the dying seconds of its match versus Alaska last week, trusting that he would save the Elasto Painters once again like he did earlier this 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
Unfortunately, his potential game-winner missed.
Five nights later, against Barangay Ginebra, the Elasto Painters were again in dire need of a bucket late in the game. And again, they went to the third-year point guard out of Letran.
This time, he delivered.
Nambatac drained a booming three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter. His shot tied the game at 76-all, sending the game into overtime. Eventually, Rain or Shine won, 85-82, to redeem itself from the loss to the Aces.
This marked the fourth game in five outings that Nambatac hit a huge shot in the clutch. He hit a bailout triple in their season debut versus San Miguel, before sinking a long trey that halted a furious Terra Firma rally in their next game.
And before missing that lay-up versus the Aces, the 27-year-old saved his side from the hands of an upset-hungry NorthPort. He calmly converted his charities with 1.3 ticks left to collect their third win in as many games.
Head coach Caloy Garcia is proud of his superstar in the making.
“Rey is a different type of player,” he said.
“He’s gonna be the future of the PBA. He’ll be a superstar eventually. He likes that position that he will take those shots. He hit another big shot today to go to overtime.”
Still, Garcia said that it was his wards’ collective effort that made wonders in the victory. They have hiked their card to 4-2 while dislodging the Gin Kings from second place in the team standings.
Well, there’s Beau Belga, who had 20 and 10 in the game, including five points in the extra period. Mark Borboran was a big help as well with 16 points. And then there’s James Yap and Javee Mocon, who had 13 and 12, respectively.
“It’s a team effort. It is not only him that we’re looking at. Other players stepped up today.”