Clutch Nambatac leads Letran’s return to winning form

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 28, 2016 04:15 PM
Clutch Nambatac leads Letran’s return to winning form
COLD-BLOODED. Rey Nambatac turned it on in the final frame and scored more than half of his total in the payoff period.

Paolo Pontejos’ outburst in the NCAA 92 Men’s Basketball Tournament was bound to happen sooner than later.

And there it was on Thursday at the San Juan Arena, but right there with it were Colegio de San Juan de Letran and its main man.

Rey Nambatac scored 15 of his 29 points in the last eight minutes and was at the forefront of the Knights’ rumbling rally that ultimately became a 67-62 triumph over Jose Rizal University.

Hanging on in the face of Pontejos’ 23-point outburst after only three quarters, the defending champions only trailed by one entering the final frame. They were still down by two inside the last seven minutes before eight straight points from Nambatac jumpstarted a 14-5 charge that boosted them ahead, 62-55.

The Heavy Bombers weren’t quitting just yet, however, as Pontejos had all but one in five unanswered points that pulled them to within 60-62 with 66 ticks to go.

It was at that point that the lead Knight got the ball and crossed it to his other hand before taking and making a cold-blooded triple over Ervin Grospe. Two more free throws from him seconds later then wrapped up Letran’s return into the winners’ circle now at 5-2.

Dropping a close one to University of Perpetual Help a week ago, coach Jeff Napa was nothing but satisfied to see his wards secure their hold on solo third. “(Buti) naka-bounce back kami. At least, nagawa namin kung ano mga dapat naming gawin,” he said.

Pontejos ended up with 27 points, his best game by far in the tournament, but only had four in the final frame to see JRU drop to 2-4.

BOX SCORES

LETRAN 67 – Nambatac 29, Quinto 12, Calvo 9, Sollano 4, Balanza 4, Ambohot 4, Luib 3, Bernabe 2, Apreku 0, Balagasay 0, Dela Pena 0, Pambid 0

JRU 62 – Pontejos 27, Dela Virgen 9, Grospe 6, Lasquety 5, Mendoza 5, Teodoro 4, Poutouochi 2, Abdul Wahab 2, Cruz 2, Dela Paz 0, Astilla 0

QUARTER SCORES: 10-12, 23-29, 44-45, 67-62

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