More important than 31 points, Nambatac now Letran’s leader

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 03, 2017 08:31 PM
More important than 31 points, Nambatac now Letran’s leader
WELL-ROUNDED. Rey Nambatac now has the leadership skills to compliment his long-established scoring prowess.

Averaging 14.9 points in 35 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists through the first four games in the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament isn’t necessarily the strongest of starts for a talent of Rey Nambatac’s caliber.

That all came to an end on Thursday as Colegio de San Juan de Letran’s top gun fired a season-high 31 points to go along with 11 rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

Even with his struggles – for his lofty standards, of course – in the earlygoing, the fact that Nambatac finally erupted was of no surprise to head coach Jeff Napa.

“Given na naman yan e,” he expressed after his team captain showed the way into back-to-back wins. “Rey Nambatac, Rey Nambatac na yun.”

As it turns out, all Nambatac needed was a boost from his schoolmates. “Sobrang saya lalo na last year ko na rito sa Letran, last year ko na sa NCAA. Parang magandang opportunity sa akin ‘to na bago ako mag-graduate, may dala akong experience na masaya,” he said following his vintage showing.

More than his outburst, however, it has been the graduating guard’s leadership that has been key to what looks to be the Knights’ righting of the ship. “Si Rey naman, never mawawala para sa amin yan. Kaya sa akin naman talaga, yung magko-compliment na lang talaga sa kanya,” Napa said.

He then continued, “It’s a matter of giving confidence sa mga bata at saka ipaintindi sa kanila na part sila ng team.”

And for the other guys to do that, Nambatac needed to show the way not just on the court, but also off of it. “Ang ginawa naming proseso, kinausap namin yung apat (Nambatac, Jerrick Balanza, JP Calvo, and Bong Quinto) and then sila yung may obligasyon para kausapin yung mga batang teammates nila,” the head coach shared.

He then continued, “Para naman maramdaman nila na kasama sila sa team, na kasama nila yung leaders namin.”

For his part, the Letran team captain said that just as he is up to the challenge of leading, so should his teammates be up to the challenge of contributing. “Yun ang gusto ko mangyari. ‘Di nga lang ako, lalo na coaches namin na dapat lahat nag-step up,” he said.

He then continued, “Kaya ako naman, lagi kong sinasabi sa bench namin na always challenge yourself kung papaano ninyo makukuha yung break niyo once ibigay ni coach.”

That has done nothing but work wonders as, for the second game in a row, the Knights’ core fore had more than enough help.

If two days ago, both Jeo Ambohot and Jeremiah Taladua posted double-doubles, it was Daryl Pascual’s turn this time around to contribute. In the end, the transferee from De La Salle University had 12 points and seven rebounds.

“Good thing na may mga lumalabas na willing to step up. At least, medyo gumaganda na laro namin kasi nga, lumalalim na talaga kam,” a more than satisfied Napa expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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