REY Nambatac has steadily emerged as Rain or Shine’s top offensive threat. Norming just five points in 15 minutes in his rookie year in 2017, he has now posted a career-high 14 points on 37-percent shooting in 32 minutes nine games in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup.
But the 28-year-old combo guard also knows a thing or two about defense, making a name on that end since his amateur days at Letran up to now in the pros, even averaging 1.1 steals in the recently concluded all-Filipino conference.
That’s why the Cagayan de Oro native knows how hard it was for him to reach his career-best offensive output, knowing the elite defenders he had to face each game to get to his point total.
Asked on SPIN Zoom In about the defenders he’s having the toughest time getting through, Nambatac rattled off a few surprising answers and some household names – but all fellow Mindanao natives.
Rey Nambatac’s best defenders
The Ginebra superstar and reigning league MVP is known for his all-around offensive game and rebounding, but he’s also an underrated defender, according to Nambatac.
“Talagang grabe dumepensa si Scottie. Gusto talaga wag ka na pakawalan,” Nambatac said of the pride of Digos City, Davao del Sur.
For Nambatac, the Gin Kings boast not just one top defender, but two, the other being the Davaoeño Pinto, who has made it tough for Nambatac to get an entry pass before making him bleed for his points.
“Pag dumepensa sila sa’yo, talagang all out eh,” Nambatac said. “As much as possible, hindi ka nila papatanggapin ng bola. Makikita mo yung pagiging pisikal nila. Makasalubong ka pa lang nila, iba-bump ka na eh, so dun pa lang, mapapagod ka na. mararamdaman mo na very aggressive ‘tong defender na ‘to.”
“Siguro malaking factor din yung college days pa lang namin, magkalaban na kami,” he added of the former Perpetual Help and Arellano stars. “Hindi na bago sa kanila yung laro ko, yung galaw ko.”
Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca
What top defenders list would it be without these two?
Barroca, who hails from Zamboanga, was second in the Philippine Cup in steals with 2.3 a game, while Jalalon, who’s also from Cagayan de Oro, was fourth at 1.8 per contest.
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