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Rey Nambatac hits game-winner as ROS escapes SMB

Rey Nambatac once again came alive for the Elasto Painters in crunch time. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Rey Nambatac lived up to his billing as Rain Or Shine's closer as he once again drained the winning shot for the team in a 95-93 squeaker over San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Nambatac finished the job for the Elasto Painters with a tough layup with 2.5 seconds left that preserved a strong performance from rookie Santi Santillan.

Santillan led ROS with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, but the fifth overall pick of the 2021 PBA Draft could not close out the game for the team as SMB threatened to force overtime.

With the E-Painters up, 92-89, Santillan could only make a split from the free throw line as the Beermen got the ball back with 51.1 seconds left.

ROS's defense forced Terrence Romeo to a missed three-pointer, but Santillan sorrily missed a jump hook and a Bradwyn Guinto foul led to two free throws from June Mar Fajardo that brought SMB to within two, 91-93, with 19 seconds on the clock.

CJ Perez then stole the ball from Anton Asistio, leading to a layup with 12.5 seconds to go with the game tied at 93-all.

But Beau Belga found Nambatac at the right corner, and the latter drove against three defenders for the go-ahead shot.

The Beermen had a chance to win, but the E-Painters' defense swarmed Romeo, forcing him to pass the ball to Marcio Lassiter, whose corner three attempt was made after time expired.

Santillan also had five rebounds and one assist for ROS, which moved up to 6-4 in the standings.

Javee Mocon added 18 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists.

Romeo finished with 20 points, three rebounds, six assists, and three steals for SMB, which fell to fourth place at 5-3.

Perez and Santos each added 18 markers with the latter completing a double-double with 12 boards.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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