MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine sure didn’t take long to move on from Chris Tiu’s retirement.
That quick development was on full display on Sunday night, April 7, as second-year guard Rey Nambatac powered the Elasto Painters to a 91-85 win against the NorthPort Batang Pier.
Much like the veteran once in his place, the former Letran star sparked the Rain or Shine bench with 14 points and 4 triples in the semifinal-clinching victory.
“Thankful ako kay coach Caloy [Garcia] and sa coaching staff na pinagkakatiwalaan nila ako,” he said after the game.
“Yung opportunity na yun di ko sinayang eh, kasi noong nag-announce si Chris Tiu na magre-retire na siya, pumasok na sa isip ko na anytime soon, baka madagdagan yung minuto ko o ako yung papalit sa spot ni Chris. So yung mga ganung bagay, tine-take advantage ko na and eto nga, nagbunga na.”
(I’m thankful to coach Caloy and the coaching staff for trusting me. I didn’t waste that opportunity because when Chris Tiu announced his retirement, I immediately thought that I’d get more minutes anytime soon or I’d take over Chris’ spot. I took advantage of those kinds of things and here it is, paying off.)
Tiu, who was watching live for the first time as a fan, was very much pleased with what he saw from the young gun.
“I’m very happy for him. I haven’t been really watching the game, but I’ve been looking at the stats and seeing some highlights and you know, his improvement has been remarkable,” he said. “From when he first joined the team till now, he really got more skilled. And I guess, his hard work is really paying off.”
“That kid is so hardworking in practice and [he’s] very coachable, you know, when you give him advice, he really takes it to heart and he listens,” Tiu continued. “He wants to learn, he wants to get better. Plus he’s being given opportunities by coach Caloy, so his confidence is high now and I’m happy for him.”
As Rain or Shine again plays the waiting game on the winner of the Manila Clasico quarterfinals between Ginebra and Magnolia, Nambatac promised to be more consistent and prove that Sunday night wasn’t a one-off.
“Kami yung young guns. Masasabi ko na dapat kami yung magse-set ng tempo sa depensa,” he said. “Siguro uunahan namin sa pagiging aggressive sa loob ng court para yung mga beterano namin, mahawa din.”
“Pagka di kami naging effective sa loob ng court [sa] mga usual na ginagawa namin na hustle, aggressiveness, eh mahihirapan kaming ipanalo yung game,” he continued. “So yun lang, naging consistent kami dun sa mga ganung sitwasyon.”
(We are the young guns. I can say that we have to set the tempo on defense. We have to lead on being aggressive on the court so that it can rub off on the veterans as well. If we are not effective on the court with our usual hustle and aggressiveness, we’d have a hard time winning the games. So there, we became consistent in those situations.) – Rappler.com