April 19, 2024

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Rey Nambatac lifts Blackwater’s 96-93 win over Meralco Bolts

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DOUBLE-DOUBLE. Rey Nambatac finishes with a double-double performance of 27 points and 10 assists to lead Blackwater’s 96-93 victory over the Meralco Bolts in the PBA Philippine Cup on February 28 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. PBA PHOTO

Rey Nambatac proved to be the catalyst for Blackwater, leading them to a hard-fought 96-93 victory over Meralco at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on February 28. 

Coach Jeff Cariaso’s expectations were not just met but exceeded as the former Rain or Shine guard orchestrated a remarkable double-double performance.

Nambatac’s stat line showcased his all-around excellence, tallying an impressive 27 points and a career-high 10 assists. 

His contributions extended beyond scoring, as he secured a critical defensive rebound in the dying seconds, thwarting Meralco’s attempt to complete a comeback from a 67-86 deficit.

Coach Cariaso acknowledged the resilience of Meralco, a veteran team known for its ability to mount comebacks. Despite the nail-biting moments when Meralco closed the gap to 93-94 with 57 seconds left, Cariaso commended his team’s ability to hold their ground.

Nambatac, however, emerged as the hero when it mattered most. Converting an offensive rebound from Richard Escoto into two crucial free throws, Nambatac maintained his perfect free-throw shooting record at 12-of-12, securing a three-point lead with 19.5 seconds remaining.

The game’s climax unfolded when Allein Maliksi, who spearheaded Meralco’s fourth-quarter surge with 20 of his 27 points, missed his last three-point attempt. Nambatac secured the game-sealing rebound, ensuring Blackwater’s triumphant return to the win column.

This victory held particular significance for Blackwater, marking their first win since the Commissioner’s Cup opener in November. The team had faced a challenging stretch, losing 10 consecutive games and finishing next-to-last in Cariaso’s inaugural conference with the team.

Cariaso expressed immense praise for Nambatac, the southpaw guard acquired from Rain or Shine just before the season commenced. 

Recognizing Nambatac’s relentless work ethic and determination, Cariaso sees the potential for further improvement.

Nambatac, in turn, attributed his success to the trust and support of his teammates. He thanked Cariaso and his teammates for believing in him. His chemistry with teammates translated into high-assist numbers, as they seamlessly converted his passes into baskets.

As Blackwater savored this hard-earned victory, Nambatac emphasized that it was only the first step in their journey. With a chip on his shoulder and a team rallying behind him, the stage is set for Rey Nambatac to make a lasting impact in PBA Season 48.

The boxscores:

Blackwater 96 – Nambatac 27, Rosario 15, Suerte 11, Hill 10, DiGregorio 9, David 7, Escoto 6, Guinto 5, Yap 5, Jopia 1, Ilagan 0, Kwekuteye 0, Sena 0.

Meralco 93 – Maliksi 27, Newsome 16, Jose 10, Mendoza 10, Black 10, Hodge 6, Banchero 5, Quinto 3, Bates 3, Torres 3, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 18-26, 43-41, 72-62, 96-93

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