UNHERALDED big man Nestor Bantayan was happy to deliver in the clutch as Perpetual Help denied reigning five-time champion San Beda, 88-86, in the NCAA Season 91 at The Arena in San Juan on Thursday.
The 21-year old native of Quezon scored on a crucial basket with 32 seconds left to give the Altas an 85-84 lead then set up Bright Akhuetie for the game-winning basket with a split second left.
Bantayan said he was happy to contribute in any way he can to help the Altas clinch a ninth win in 13 matches.
“Masayang-masaya (dahil) nakaambag ako kahit papano, kahit ganoon lang,” he told Spin.ph. “Bigla talaga nakita ko libreng-libre (Akhuetie) siya eh all naman 'yun (score) kaya hinanap ko talaga yung open man.”
The burly third year player said the Altas were motivated to beat the five-time defending champion after the Red Lions denied at the semifinal stage for three consecutive seasons.
“Ang lakas rin ng kalaban namin pero gusto talaga namin manalo,” he said. “Kasi sa Final Four tinatalo nila kami kaya gusto namin sila talunin.”
Bantayan, a former national youth mainstay who played under multi-titled coach Eric Altamirano, said he doesn't mind playing back-up for star teammates Akhuetie and pro-bound Scottie Thompson.
“Inaasahan talaga sa team sina Bright, sina Scott, pero kami sa team nag-contribute kaming lahat,” he said.