|Rey Nambatac scored another game-clinching shot to lead the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to the semis, defeating Blackwater Elite, Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Dennis Jerome Acosta|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
QUEZON CITY - The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters snatched the last spot in the semifinals of the PBA Commissioner's Cup by defeating Blackwater Elite; 85-83, Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Rey Nambatac was the key for the Elasto Painters to walk away with the win as the former Letran Knight scored 12 of his 21 points solely in the final period.
But it had never been an easy task for Rain or Shine to take on Blackwater in the do-or-die match as the Elite were likewise determined to win it for their franchise, wanting to make their first semis appearance.
Despite the strong start of the Elasto Painters, Blackwater owned the first half, leading as much as 13 points, making a statement that they are out to put up a good fight.
However, Rain or Shine was able to cut the lead by 7; 38-45 at the halftime break.
At the resumption of play, Rain or Shine was determined to make a comeback and snatch the lead away from the Blackwater.
Norbert Torres drew first blood in the third period to make it a 5-point trail; 40-45.
Nambatac then scored 5 straight points to tie the ballgame at 45-all with 10:05 to play.
It was a spree of lead changes and back to back baskets coming from both teams that ended up with the Elites up by as much as 5 points.
The third quarter sealed off with Blackwater still ahead; 69-65.
At crunch time, Rain or Shine capitalized the most, beginning with Nambatac's three-pointer that gave them a 3-point advantage with 5:29 left to play.
Javee Mocon extended the lead further to 6; 79-73 with his lay-up at 3:54 but Blackwater was able to recover through the efforts of Mac Belo, scoring from beyond the arc to tally in an 82-80 score with 1:07 to go before the final buzzer.
Gabe Norwood split a free throw off a foul by Roi Sumang to give the Elasto Painters a 3-point advantage; 83-80 but Belo was able to score another one from the three point line to tie the ballgame at 83-all with only 36 seconds left to play.
The Elasto Painters depended on Nambatac's prowess in scoring at the end game, which he was able to deliver, giving a 2-point edge with 18 seconds left to play.
Bobby Ray Parks attempted to shoot from beyond the arc but misses, Blackwater was able to secure the offensive rebound and tried to go to Greg Smith to try to tie the ballgame and send it to overtime but the Elites' import likewise missed on the opportunity.
The Elasto Painters are set to meet San Miguel Beermen in a best of 5 series beginning this Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha