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Nambatac eyes performance to remember for Knights

Rey Nambatac (No. 6) in action for Letran. | Miguel De Guzman
MANILA, Philippines — If this is his last college game, Letran star Rey Nambatac said he wants to go down swinging.
 
Nambatac and his Letran Knights try to stave elimination for second straight game as they face the San Sebastian Stags Tuesday in a knockout duel for the fourth and last spot in the stepladder semifinals of the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
 
It was Nambatac who exploded for 25 points in lifting Letran to a 70-68 win over Arellano U Thursday, and he hopes to bring it again when they tackle an equally gritty San Sebastian side in their showdown set at 3:30 p.m.
 
“I don’t want to lose and I will do everything to prevent it,” said the 23-year-old Nambatac, who has applied for this year’s PBA rookie draft. “But if it comes to that, I want to give it all and go down fighting.”
 
Nambatac also had a score to settle with the Stags, who dealt them an embarrassing 95-64 lashing on September 26 at the Filoil Arena in San Juan City.
 
“We’re really looking forward to our game against San Sebastian because of that loss,” said Nambatac, whose team won over the Stags, 79-75, in overtime in their first-round meeting on Aug. 15.
 
San Sebastian’s ticket has been its defense as it finished the elimination round as third in points allowed at 70.2, next only to San Beda’s league-best 65.8 and Jose Rizal’s 69.
 
“If we will play defense as hard as we did against them the last time we played, we’ll have a chance,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya.
 
Macaraya said he has seen Nambatac went off and he hopes to make it harder when they face off again.
 
“We have to find ways to slow him (Nambatac) down,” said Macaraya.
 
Michael Calisaan is expected to be the focal point of San Sebastian’s attack as he averages a team-best 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds a game although it was the duo of Jayson David and Allyn Bulanadi who delivered the killer punch in their last win over Letran.
 
In juniors’ action, San Sebastian and St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills shoot for the last Final Four berth as the two tackle each other at 1 p.m.
 
The winner takes on San Beda, the elimination round top seed, on October 27 also at MOA.
 
No. 2 Mapua and No. 3 Letran clash in the other Final Four pairing.
 
San Beda and Mapua own a twice-to-beat edge.
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