Rey Nambatac took the last shot of the game that prevented an overtime in the first Quarterfinal match between Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Blackwater Elite, Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena. PBA Images
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
PASAY CITY - The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters drew first blood in the best-of-three PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals series against the Blackwater Elite with an 83-80 win at the Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday night.
Rey Nambatac's massive three-pointer with 4 seconds to play in the ball game was the key to help the Elasto Painters escape a looming overtime against the Elite to seal the win.
The Elasto Painters made their stance early on the game as they lead as much as 8 points at the start of the quarter.
Despite the efforts of the Elasto Painters to extend their advantage, the Elite succeeded in trimming their lead down to a point, 22-21, to close the first quarter.
Blackwater then opened the scoring at the second quarter with Allein Maliksi hitting a jump shot to give the advantage to the Elite, 23-22.
But Rain or Shine's outside scoring worked immensely for them, as they fired three consecutive shots from beyond the arc coming from Carl Montgomery, Beau Belga and Nambatac to push the Elasto Painters to a 10-point advantage.
The Elasto Painters closed the quarter down with them outscoring the Elite, 28-18, to tally a 50-39 halftime advantage.
At the resumption of play in the second half, Blackwater did their best to outscore Rain or Shine.
Mac Belo paved the way for the Elite's rally as he was able to tie the ball game at 57-all with over 3 minutes remaining. Maliksi then gave them the advantage by scoring a basket.
The Elite scored a massive 22 points in the third period as compared to the Elasto Painters' 9 points to seal the quarter with Blackwater finally on the driver's seat at 61-59.
Blackwater led as much as 9 points in the fourth quarter only to be slowly cut by Montgomery through back to back triples to make it a 5-point trail, 75-80, with only 1:27 left.
Nambatac was able to steal the ball off Blackwaater's play to be able to complete a fastbreak to further trim the lead down to 3; 77-80 with 1:24 remaining in the game.
After a series of missed shots, Rain or Shine was able to connect one in from beyond the arc through the effort of Gabe Norwood with only 39 seconds left to play to tie the ball game at 80-all.
Worried that the game might go into overtime, Blackwater called for a timeout and regrouped.
At the resumption of play, Parks attempted to connect from the three point area only to miss the shot and the defensive rebound falling into the hands of Montgomery who was quick to call a timeout to set the play for the Elasto Painters and convert their inbound to the half-court.
Nambatac was quick to shoot from beyond the arc at the resumption of play, with the shot finding the basket and counted an 83-80 advantage for Rain or Shine.
Parks attempted to take the last shot from the three point area to beat the clock but it was a no-go.
Montgomery was named as the best player of the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds.
Game 2 of the best-of-three quarterfinal series between Blackwater and Rain or Shine will happen on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
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