JERSEY STORY: Rey Nambatac finally summons guts to assume Alas' old No. 6 for Letran
By wearing No. 6, Letran forward Rey Nambatac is challenging himself to be the kind of player and leader that former star Kevin Alas was to the Knights. Czar Dancel

THEY'RE more than mere numbers, and there's more to them than meets the eye.

From important dates in their lives to lucky numbers to a happy coincidence, there's usually a compelling story behind the numbers your favorite players wear on their backs.

And more often that not, these stories will either surprise you or make you feel closer to your sports heroes.

Here's No. 11 of our Jersey Story Series:

REY Nambatac has always worn No. 6, from his elementary days at Sacred Heart of Jesus Montessori School in Cagayan de Oro down to his stint with the Letran Squires from 2010-2013.

When he finally moved up to join the Knights in the NCAA, the rangy forward wavered and switched to No. 13.

“Nag-13 lang ako kasi, una, ‘yun na lang ang slot (na available) then idol ko si (James) Harden (of the Houston Rockets) so pinili ko ang No. 13,” he told

But why not No. 6?

The 21-year old pride of Cagayan de Oro City admitted that during his rookie year, he hesitated to assume the jersey number of Kevin Alas - formerly the Letran Knights' top scorer and undisputed star.

At a time when Nambatac was trying to make a name for himself in the high school ranks, Alas, now with Talk 'N Text in the PBA, was leading the Knights to the finals - the school's first since winning its last NCAA title in 2005.

“Nag start ako mag-basketball No. 6 na talaga ako, unang laro ko ng basketball No. 6 na ‘yung binigay sa akin kaya tinuloy-tuloy ko na” he said. “Then noong nag juniors ako sa Letran No. 6 pa rin.”


“(Pero) nakakahiyang gumamit ng No. 6 na jersey,” he continued. “Nahihiya ako na wala pa akong maipakita.”

Now that he is on his third year with the Knights and is among the team's acknowledged leaders, Nambatac has finally summoned the guts to don the No. 6 jersey - not because he felt he deserved it, but to challenge himself to be the player that Alas was to the team.

“Ngayong third year ko na, may lakas ng loob na akong kaya ko nang isuot,” the former NCAA juniors Rookie of the Year said. “Marami akong naririnig kino-compare nila ako kay Kevin Alas pero hindi ko siya tine-take na masama. China-challenge ko ang sarili ko na kailangan ko matapatan si Kevin Alas.

“’Yung days niya sa Letran na ginagamit niya jersey No. 6 gusto ko makuha rin ‘yun or magawa rin ‘yung mga ginawa niya para sa Letran.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin