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Rey Nambatac, Warrior of the Light

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“Behind the mask of ice that people wear, there beats a heart of fire.” – Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light

Rey Nambatac could have sat out the Letran Knights’ final game on Friday against the Perpetual Help Altas. He definitely had plenty of reasons to.

The Tuesday night after their loss to San Beda, Nambatac suffered a fever and headache. Earlier during the game, he had to have a cut below the lower lip treated.

He had not been able to return to practice until before Friday’s game as he recuperated. Just when things could not get worse, he suffered a bout of LBM.

“Hindi na ako nakabalik sa practice, hindi ko kaya e. Nag-LBM ako at kapag tumatayo ako, hindi ako makatayo ng maayos dahil nahihilo ako. Nagpahinga lang ako habang naka-dextrose sa clinic namin,” Nambatac shared.

But determined to contribute to the squad, Nambatac pushed through the fever and defied the odds to play for the Knights.

“Hindi ko kayang umupo lang. Gusto ko tumulong kahit may nararamdaman ako. Kung kaya ko, tutulong ako dahil importante yung laro,” he shared.

Nambatac took another hit when his head collided with Gerald Dizon’s shoulder during a fastbreak play in the second quarter. Nambatac fell, eyes crossed as if knocked out by a haymaker.

“Pagtayo ko kanina, dalawa-dalawa yung nakikita kong tao. Sabi ko, hindi maganda to. Buti na lang may sumalo sa akin. Ang sama ng tama sa akin, hindi na ako nakadilat after tamaan ako,” he recalled.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Rey Nambatac, Warrior of the Light    But even that did not derail him, as he thought of the game even before thinking of himself.

Nambatac had his manager update him on the game, and having been given the go-signal from the medical team, he bravely returned in the third quarter.

“Curious ako sa nangyayari sa court. Gusto ko updated ako lagi and sabi ko sa doctor, kamusta ang lagay ko. Kung makakabalik pa ako,” he said.

His entry was met with cheers, which empowered him even more.

“Nakakaboost ng kumpiyansa and nakakawala ng pagod. Inaabangan nila ako and ang laki ng tiwala ng mga Letranista sa akin.”

Head coach Aldin Ayo lauded Nambatac for his heroics, saying the wing man had an unmatched desire to play.

“Yung bata, kita mo talaga yung puso. He has to face his fears, takot pala sa karayom yun e. Gusto niya lang talaga gumaling kahit gaano kasakit. Sabi niya sakin gusto niya maglaro,” Ayo said.

“Kaya noong natamaan ulit siya, pinuntahan ko siya kasi alam ko kung gaano kasakit yun. Noong halftime tinanong ko siya, pwede naman siya magsit-out pero sabi niya coach, maglalaro ako.”

When it comes to going all-out, count Nambatac in. He is a warrior and he has proven it again, this time in an all-important war for Letran.

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