Rey Nambatac sustained his fiery scoring as Rain or Shine turned back Blackwater, 71-62, to gain a share of the early lead in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night, July 18 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Nambatac waxed hot with 21 points on top of 12 rebounds before Elasto Painters foiled the Bossing’s late comeback to join Meralco atop the standings with a 2-0 similar slate.
The 27-year-old lefty guard was coming off a 19-point eruption in RoS’ 83-82 escape against NLEX on Friday.
Javee Mocon also racked up a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards while Norbert Torres tallied 13 markers and veteran Beau Belga put up an eight-point, 10-rebound effort.
More than their offense, head coach Chris Gavina lauded the Painters’ steady defense especially when the Bossing were threatening down the closing stretch.
“I truly feel that our defensive identity carried us tonight. It was a grind-it-out game,” said Gavina.
The Painters took a commanding 68-48 lead early in the payoff quarter and remained way ahead, 71-56, on Nambatac’s free throws with 4:26 left.
Paul Desiderio and Ed Daquiao towed Blackwater within a single digit deficit, 62-71, but Rain or Shine turned to its trademark defense to preserve the result.
Kelly Nabong had 18 points and Daquiaog had 10 markers for the Bossing, who suffered their second consecutive defeat after taking a 103-77 beatdown to the Alaska Aces in the season-opening game.
Rain or Shine 71 – Nambatac 21, Torres 13, Mocon 12, Belga 8, Borboran 4, Santillan 4, Asistio 3, Norwood 2, Ponferada 2, Guinto 2, Wong 0, Tolentino 0
Blackwater 62 – Nabong 18, Daquioag 10, Enciso 7, Canaleta 6, Amer 6, Magat 4, Desiderio 4, Torralba 2, Escoto 2, Paras 2, Semerad 1, Tolomia 0
Quarters : 19-14, 35-24, 61-45, 71-62