Thanks to Rey Nambatac, Rain or Shine turned back the Blackwater Elite, 85-83, in their quarterfinal rubber match to complete the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals cast, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The sophomore guard led the Elasto Painters’ 17-2 rally that turned an eight-point deficit to an 82-77 lead with 1:46 to go in the final frame. He then sank the go-ahead jumper with 18.5 ticks left to give his side the lead for good.
Nambatac finished with a game-high 21 points, on top of four rebounds, four steals, and two assists.
“Medyo speechless ako. Nambatac carried us in this game. Lumalabas talaga ‘yung maturity ni Rey,” lauded Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia of the Letran product, whom RoS picked seventh in the 2017 Draft.
Another member of the Elasto Painters’ youth brigade, Javee Mocon, made his presence felt in the victory as well. He produced all-around numbers of 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and a steal in over 36 minutes of play.
Import Carl Montgomery collected 14 points and a game-best 23 rebounds, as well as two assists, two steals, and a block. Veteran slotman Beau Belga chimed in 10 markers, 10 caroms, and three dimes.
Mac Belo had 16 points, five rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and an assist to set the pace for Blackwater.
Belo’s last six points came from back-to-back three-pointers, which enabled the Elite to tie the game up at 83-all with 35.9 seconds left to play. But then, it all went for naught as Nambatac nailed the elbow jumper just seconds later.
Ray Parks had 16 points as well, while import Greg Smith made 15 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the defeat. Allein Maliksi had 14 points and six rebounds, while point guard Mike Cortez added 10 markers.
With the win, Rain or Shine will meet the San Miguel Beermen in the semis – their first semifinal meeting since the 2016 edition of the same conference. Their best-of-five series starts this Saturday, July 27, still at the Big Dome.
Rain or Shine 85 – Nambatac 21, Mocon 15, Montgomery 14, Belga 10, Norwood 7, Ponferada 6, Torres 5, Rosales 4, Borboran 3, Onwubere 0, Alejandro 0.
Blackwater 83 – Belo 16, Parks 16, Smith 15, Maliksi 14, Cortez 10, DiGregorio 5, Desiderio 3, Sumang 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Sena 0.
Quarterscores: 23-31, 38-45, 65-69, 85-83.