Racal Ceramica absorbed a sour 95-83 defeat to Cignal-San Beda HD Hawkeyes in Game One of the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals, but it is a loss that will only help Rey Nambatac and the Tile Master do better come Game Two.
“Medyo down yung team namin kasi talo,” lamented Nambatac moments after the match.
“Pero karamihan sa team ko, sabi gawin naming motivation yung Game 1. Yung lapses sa game na ‘to, sana sa Game 2, maitama na namin.”
In its early goings, Game One was deemed as a lopsided affair in favor of Cignal, who led by as much as 21. But being the fighters they are, Racal fought back and came knocking within just five in the final frame.
“Bad start, nalamangan agad kami,” the Cagayan de Oro-native rued on their slow start that led to the Cignal outburst, which saw Jason Perkins and Pamboy Raymundo combine for 36 points in the first half alone — Racal’s total output for the half.
In that Racal comeback stretch in the payoff period, it was Nambatac who anchored his team’s run, scoring eight of his 23 points. Unfortunately for him, his Herculean effort went in vain, as Cignal-San Beda edged them off successfully.
“Nasa isip ko lang is gusto ko manalo — mahabol yung lamang nila. Kasi para sa akin, importante yung Game 1 kasi kung sino manalo rito, yun yung may magandang chance,” shared the incoming Letran senior.
“May mga chances na puwede kaming dumikit, pero kinulang kami sa effort para makuha yung gusto namin.”
Still, the one-time NCAA champion and the Tile Master remain undaunted despite the 0-1 deficit, as they still have a chance get back at the HD Hawkeyes on Game Two set Monday at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.
“‘Di pa naman tapos yung laban. May Game 2 pa naman, kaya pa,” the 22-year-old gunslinger said.