REY Nambatac continued his fine play, scoring double figures for the second consecutive time as Rain or Shine rallied to beat NorthPort on Friday.
The former Letran star had 11 points, seven coming in the fourth period, as the Elastopainters won over the Batang Pier, 107-100, to improve their record to 5-1.
Nambatac said there has been a conscious effort to fill the void of Chris Tiu, who retired from the PBA during the offseason.
“Malaking kawalan ‘yung pagkawala ni Chris Tiu,” said the Rain or Shine sophomore. “Ako na sophomore, ‘yung mga rookies namin, kami ‘yung pumuno sa pagkawala ni Chris Tiu. Minutes ni Chris Tiu, naghahati hati kami. Nagkaroon ng magandang impact.”
Nambatac, who averaged 4.8 points in his rookie season, admitted he has been preparing for the possible retirement of Tiu last year.
“Actually, last year, pinaghahandaan ko na ‘yun. Anytime soon, puwedeng magkaroon ako ng mahabang minutes o madagdagan ‘yung minutes. Eto ‘yung nangyayari ngayon. Nagkakatugma sa pinaghahandaan,” said Nambatac.
While his scoring average has risen to eight per game, Nambatac said he is still focusing on defense, as shown by his two steals against NorthPort on Friday.
“Masaya ako kasi unti-unting binibigyan ako ni coach ng break. Ako naman, kapag nasa loob ako ng court, pinupuno ko lang ‘yung kulang sa team which is hustle and defense. Hindi ako umaalis sa role sa team.
“I just play my game. Kapag nasa loob ako ng court, focus lang ako at binabasa ko ‘yung sitwasyon on the court, kung ano kailangang gawin para makalamang kami at makakuha ng momentum. Doon ako nagiistart sa defense ko. Para sa akin, ‘yung offense ko, nakukuha ko sa defense. ‘Yun ‘yung nangyari kanina sa fourth quarter,” Nambatac added.