Rey Nambatac bailed out Rain or Shine with a late triple and held off defending champion San Miguel Beer 87-83 Tuesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Nambatac recovered a looseball after Javee Mocon’s pass was deflected from a tight SMB defense. The former Letran star then fired a three as the shot clock was winding down with 12.4 seconds to go, giving the Elasto Painters an 85-81 lead.
The three was the only field goal made by Nambatac in seven attempts, but it was enough to open Rain or Shine’s campaign inside the bubble on a winning note.
“We got the win because Rey hit a three-point shot,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia, whose team started out of the gates with a 16-0 lead thanks to Mocon.
Mocon scored 12 of his 25 points in the first quarter to lead Rain or Shine’s triumph. Kris Rosales had 15 points and six rebounds while Beau Belga added 12 points and six boards.
Gabe Norwood opened its 12th PBA campaign with 11 rebounds in almost 38 minutes.
SMB, playing for the first time since its 94-78 win in the 45th season opener last March 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, was denied of a 2-0 start as it spent most of the game trying to play catch-up.
Marcio Lassiter hit 20 points and Mo Tautuaa produced 17 points and 11 boards for the Beermen.
Alex Cabagnot scored 18 points, becoming the 31st player in PBA history to score 8,000 career points.
Cabagnot is also the fifth active player to reach that milestone.
RAIN OR SHINE 87 — Mocon 25, Rosales 15, Belga 12, Borboran 9, Ponferada 7, Onwubere 6, Torres 4, Nambatac 4, Norwood 3, Doliguez 2, Wong 0, Yap 0.
SAN MIGUEL 83 — Lassiter 20, Cabagnot 18, Tautuaa 17, Romeo 11, Gamalinda 5, Ross 4, Mamaril 3, Santos 2, Escoto 2, Pessumal 1, Zamar 0, De Guzman 0,
Quarters: 25-20, 46-41, 67-54, 87-83.