Everybody inside the SM Mall of Asia Arena held their breath when Rey Nambatac launched a triple in the final seconds of Rain or Shine’s 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal opener versus Blackwater, Saturday.
That three was no ordinary three as Nambatac launched it a few feet away from the arc — that is why all at the venue were surprised when the sophomore guard decided to pull the trigger from such a far distance.
But all the anxiety turned into cheers as Nambatac made the shot. The Elasto Painters won, 83-80.
“Bago ko tinira nakita ko na oras eh, paubos na oras, napaganda lang siya kasi biglang dumikit si Roi Sumang so nabigyan ako ng space maka-shoot kahit na malayo,” explained Nambatac, who finished with 13 points, of that big shot.
But as big of a factor he had been, the combo guard out of Letran said that his clutch shot would not be possible if it hadn’t been for the confidence given to him by the Elasto Painters, most especially head coach Caloy Garcia.
“Isa sa nagbigay sa akin ng kumpiyansa mga teammates ko mismo,” said Nambatac.
“‘Di sila nag give up, so yun, para sa’kin basta nagsipag ka sa loob may kapalit na kagandahan. Yun nga, yung game-winning shot.
“Kumpiyansa lang kasi yun binibigay sakin ni coach Caloy, binibigyan niya ako ng free will gawin ang gusto ko so yun nga sinusuklian ko lang tiwala ni coach Caloy pati ng mga teammates ko,” said the 25-year-old from Cagayan de Oro.
The Elasto Painters have now gained the edge in the best-of-three series, and a win on Tuesday will bring them to the semifinals. Nambatac knows they have the upper hand, but they’re aware as well of the fightback Blackwater will give.
Still, they’re going to try their very best to grab the opportunity of making it into the penultimate stage.
“Nasa amin yung advantage eh. Pero sabi nga ni coach Caloy sa huddle kanina, ‘di namin pwede maliitin yung Blackwater kasi we know they will bounce back hard. Kami naman, nandun na yung opportunity,” he said.
“Imagine itong elimination talaga kami yung naghahabol ng panalo, kasabayan namin Magnolia, San Miguel, pero nag-end up kami sa magandang position na meron kaming chance na makapasok ulit sa semifinals.”
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