REY Nambatac knows he has become a marked man ever since his 40-point performance against San Sebastian two weeks ago.
The Letran top gun is not only unfazed but has even embraced the challenge, as shown in the Knights’ win against Jose Rizal University, 67-62, on Thursday.
Nambatac responded to his coach Jeff Napa's call to learn to play with the defense all over him as he scored 29 points, including 15 in the fourth period, to lead the Knights to their fifth win in seven outings.
“Actually, first quarter pa lang, ramdam ko na (‘yung depensa). Kulang na lang halikan ako eh. Sabi nga ni coach sa akin, ngayon pa lang, kailangan mo na ma-encounter ‘yung mga ganung depensa kasi sobrang diin na ng depensa sa akin,” said Nambatac.
With the game still hanging in the balance, Nambatac took charge after Letran cut JRU’s lead to 45-44 at the end of the third period.
“Tinaasan ko lang ‘yung intensity ko kasi, coming from a loss, we can’t afford to lose again. Iniisip ko nung fourth, kailangan manalo kami, wag namin sayangin ‘yung opportunity na nakuha namin. Nandoon na ‘yung momentum, i-grab na namin,” he said.
Nambatac also made waves defensively, limiting Paolo Pontejos to four points in the final quarter following a 23-point explosion in the first three periods.
“Pagka-Letran ‘yung kalaban, pumuputok si Pontejos. Nangyari nga. Second half, ako na ‘yung nagbantay sa kanya, pinahirapan ko na siya. Ginawa ko ‘yung best ko para pahirapan siya,” said Nambatac.