In their loss two nights ago that had them on the verge of elimination from the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, Rain or Shine veteran Beau Belga called on the Elasto Painters to give it their all in Game Six.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ‘pag umabot ng Game Seven ‘to, eto yung hindi niyo makakalimutan,” Belga said then. “Maia-ano niyo sa buong buhay niyo na ‘sa career ko umabot ako ng Game Seven sa semis’.
“And All-Filipino ‘to.”
Clearly, on Friday night, his team received the message – particularly sophomore combo guard Rey Nambatac.
The 25-year-old showed that he’s a man among boys, burying four triples in the fourth quarter alone en route to 16 points. His performance lifted Rain or Shine to a 91-81 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots to send the series to a decider.
“Sobrang importante ‘tong conference na to, kasi sabi nga sa’min ni Beau, All-Filipino. Sobrang laki ng chance namin na mag-Finals and at the same time, mag-champion,” said Nambatac, clearly taking Belga’s advice to heart.
“Kaming Rain or Shine, known kami na kaya namin makipag-compete as All-Filipino.”
Thanks to his explosion, the Elasto Painters have accomplished their mission of pushing their series to the limit. Nambatac admitted, though, that this would be the first time in his career that he’d play in a Game Seven.
But he isn’t folding to the challenge.
“Actually, first time ko to, Game Seven. Medyo may pressure kasi nga professional na to eh, ‘di na to amateur na basta-basta mo lang iisipin. Ito kailangan mo pag-aralan, especially ako. Alam ko na nasa scouting report din ako ng Magnolia so ‘di ako dapat magre-relax,” the native of Cagayan de Oro said.
“Pero che-cherish ko ‘tong ganitong moment,” he expressed.
“Kasi para sa’kin exposure din ‘to, and at the same time magandang experience sa’kin ‘to na habang bata pa ‘ko, nae-encounter ko na yung mga ganitong series, yung ganitong kagagandang laban.”