PBA-bound Nambatac: ‘’Di lang pala pang-probinsya yung laro ko’

PBA-bound Nambatac: ‘’Di lang pala pang-probinsya laro ko'
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM. Rey Nambatac's eight years in Intramuros were nothing but a success.

When he left Cagayan de Oro for Manila when he was 15-years-old, all Rey Nambatac had in his pocket was PhP 2, 000.

Eight years of bleeding blue and red later, he has finally made it to the big-time, now drafted to the PBA to wear the colors of Rain or Shine.

In his final go-round for Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the now 23-year-old fell just one win short of the Final Four.

He has no regrets, however, saying he left his all on the floor, despite only having 11 points in just 20 minutes in the Knights’ 69-74 loss to San Sebastian College-Recoletos. “Hanggang dito na lang ang journey namin, pero there’s nothing to be ashamed of kasi we did our best. Simula sa baba, lumaban kami,” he said then.

Indeed, Letran’s NCAA campaign this season mirrored Nambatac’s basketball journey – an uphill climb that nobody saw coming.

For the scoring guard, playing in the NCAA – much less, in the PBA – was a farfetched idea when he was just a kid in Cagayan de Oro. “To be honest, hindi ko talaga naisip na mangyayari ‘to. Before pa ako dumating ng Letran, wala sa isip ko talagang maglaro sa big leagues,” he said.

After all, the reason Nambatac played ball and joined the varsity team in his early high school years was to give his parents a breather from tuition fees. “Simple lang buhay ko noon, laro-laro lang sa mga barangay. Sa school, varsity lang para makakuha ng full scholarship,” he said.

Even when Letran finally recruited him, he said he just grabbed the golden opportunity to enroll in a school in Manila. “Nung dumating ako sa Letran, talagang mindset ko lang nun is maglalaro lang ako, magpupursigi lang ako para makakuha ng full scholarship at matulungan ko yung family ko na hindi na sila madodoble sa paggastos,” he said.

That was, until the longtime Letranite set his mind into becoming so much more and the setting his body to work hard for it. “Talagang grabe yung hard work ko nung high school. ‘Di ko na lang namalayan na ang laki nap ala nang in-improve ko,” he said.

He then continued, “Dun ko lang na-realize na malayo pa ang mararating ko kung magfo-focus pa ako lalo.”

Three years as a Squire and five years as a Knight later, Nambatac has compiled one championship in the Seniors as well as one MVP and one Rookie of the Year in the Juniors.

Without a doubt, he only has fond memories of his time in Intramuros. “Ang laking pasasalamat ko sa Letan because they gave me the opportunity na maipakita ko yung talent ko sa big leagues. Dahil sa kanila, napakita ko na ‘di lang pala pangprobinsya yung laro ko,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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