At the most crucial time, ROS turned to Rey Nambatac who gratefully took on the role of take-charge, dropping 12 of his 21 in the fourth and highlighting his heroics with the marginal basket with 18.5 seconds left.
Jun Mendoza
E-Painters grab last semis seat
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine offset its slow start with a big finishing kick to score a thrilling 85-83 victory over Blackwater and earn the right to play San Miguel Beer in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals. 

Facing a 13-point deficit in the second  quarter and trailing by eight early in the fourth, the E-Painters bravely fought their way back  then outraced the playoff-greenhorn Elite in a spirited sprint to the finish line en route to a Final Four date with the Beermen.

At the most crucial time, ROS turned to Rey Nambatac who gratefully took on the role of take-charge, dropping 12 of his 21 in the fourth and highlighting his heroics with the marginal basket with 18.5 seconds left.

“Nambatac bailed us in this game, he’s demonstrating his maturity,” said ROS coach Caloy Garcia of the sophomore, who sparked the E-Painters’ fightback from 65-73 down in the last nine minutes.

It wasn’t the best of starts for the supposedly experienced Elasto Painters in the deciding Game 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as their erratic start allowed the  Elite to storm to a 45-32 tear in the second canto.

The E-Painters racked up six unanswered points to go to within manageable seven-point deficit at the turn, then they carried the momentum over to the third, with Norbert Torres, Nambatac and Gabe Norwood conspiring in a 13-4 assault to wrest the lead, 51-49. 

“In the first half, I felt we were doing nothing right and we’re lucky we’re just  down by seven (at halftime). I told them we want to push every possesion and try to go quick but we’re turning the ball over.

“But in the second half, we were able to settle down, lessen our turnovers. Blackwater went up by eight but my players didn’t give up, they didn’t let up. Credit to them, they played their hearts out,” said Garcia.

Rookie Javee Mocon also played big with his 15-point, seven-rebound, six-assist effort while import Carl Montgomery delivered 14 with 23 boards and Beau Belga had 10-10.

Ray Parks and Mac Belo shot 16 each to pace the third-seeded Blackwater, which fell short of a historic semis appearance.

ROS now shifts its focus on the best-of-five semis stage against the powerhouse Beermen beginning Saturday, hoping injured mainstays James Yap, Ed Daquioag and Maverick Ahanmisi can rejoin the squad already.

BLACKWATER PBA COMMISSIONER’S CUP RAIN OR SHINE
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