LETRAN coach Aldin Ayo preferred to highlight Rey Nambatac’s defensive game rather than dwell on his offensive struggles in Game Two of the NCAA Finals against San Beda.
Nambatac failed to score a single point in a game where the Knights had the chance to seal their first title in a decade, missing all his six field goal attempts and his six free throws in Letran’s 61-68 loss to San Beda.
With the defeat, Letran will have to play San Beda again on Thursday in a winner-take-all match.
Nambatac declined to be interviewed by mediamen following the defeat but Ayo was quick to come to the defense of his prized player, playing down his offensive meltdown as just “one of those days.”
“One of those days,” said Ayo, who also assured that Nambatac is healthy. “Tao lang naman.”
The Letran coach, however, emphasized Nambatac did well on defense, pointing out that the reed-thin forward grabbed six rebounds and had two steals in the Game Two defeat.
“Ang sinasabi ko sa kanya lagi, because he is showing his frustration during the game, wala kang puntos pero you are doing great on defense. Hindi ko alam ‘yung steals ni Rey pero ang basketball naman, hindi puro puntos. He was doing great on defense,” said Nambatac.
Nambatac’s struggles mirrored Letran’s offensive letdown as the Knights shot just 24-of-83 from the field and 8-of-16 from the free-throw line. The Knights only had three field goals in the fourth period and went completely silent in the final five minutes.
“Once you missed the free throw, wala namang titignan diyan kung hindi focus,” Ayo said. “Kahit masama form mo, basta focused ka, makaka-shoot ka. It’s mental,” said Ayo.