Rey Nambatac scored a difficult shot with 2.1 seconds left to give Rain or Shine a stunning 95-93 win over San Miguel Beer yesterday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Nambatac’s off-balanced one-hander against Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa allowed the Elasto Painters to make up for losing a four-point lead a few seconds earlier to produce a second straight upset victory against a title contender and improve to 6-4.
“I already designed a play that he will get the ball on the top of the key or if they got it to the post it was going to be a handoff,” said Rain or Shine coach Chris Gavina.
“But Rey’s playmaking, that was all him. He got the ball and was able to go with his instincts and make that game-winning basket for us.”
But perhaps the biggest hero in the victory was rookie big man Santi Santillan, who scored 21 points and accounted for most of the baskets that allowed Rain or Shine to erase a 12-point deficit in the third quarter.
Selected fifth in the PBA Rookie Draft last March, Santillan scored all of his baskets in the second half to spark the Elasto Painters’ big follow-up to their 75-72 triumph over the Magnolia Pambansang Manok Hotshots two days earlier.
Santillan’s efforts nearly went to waste as Rain or Shine squandered a 93-89 lead, ending with Perez swiping the ball away from rookie Anton Asistio before converting a layup in transition to even the count at 93-all with 12.1 seconds left.
San Miguel, however, couldn’t stop Nambatac from converting the go-ahead shot that put an end to its two-game winning streak.
The Beermen, who earlier in the week beat the TNT Tropang Giga and defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, dropped to third place at 5-3.
Javee Mocon had 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, Asistio added 11 points and seven assists for ROS.
Terrence Romeo posted 20 points on 6-of-17 shooting with three rebounds, six assists and three steals for San Miguel in a losing effort.
June Mar Fajardo’s basket almost two minutes into the third brought SMB to its largest lead at 53-41.
That lead would disappear as Santillan delivered 11 points in the period, majority of which came during a 15-5 windup that put ROS on top 72-69 entering the fourth.
RAIN OR SHINE 95 — Santillan 21, Mocon 18, Asistio 11, Belga 9, Nambatac 9, Yap 9, Caracut 7, Torres 4, Norwood 3, Ponferada 2, Guinto 2, Wong 0, Tolentino 0, Borboran 0.
SAN MIGUEL 93 — Romeo 20, Santos 18, Perez 18, Tautuaa 13, Lassiter 11, Fajardo 8, Pessumal 3, Ross 2, Gotladera 0, Gamalinda 0.
Quarters: 16-27, 41-51, 72-69, 95-93.