PBA: Rey Nambatac makes Blackwater debut, leads win over Meralco

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Rey Nambatac makes his debut for Blackwater Bossing in the PBA Philippine Cup.–PBA IMAGES

ANTIPOLO CITY—Rey Nambatac put up a splendid debut for his new team as Blackwater escaped with a 96-93 victory over Meralco to tip off the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at Ynares Center here.

Nambatac shook off early struggles to finish with 27 points and a career-high 10 assists as the Bossing got the All-Filipino tournament off to a good start, with hopes of avoiding what transpired in the previous conference.

Coach Jeffrey Cariaso won his maiden game for Blackwater in the Commissioner’s Cup, only to lose 10 straight to suffer an early exit.

SCHEDULE: 2024 PBA Philippine Cup

But with new players like Nambatac, who two weeks ago was traded from Rain or Shine, Blackwater will look to turn a different page this time.

James Yap also suited up for the first time in a Blackwater uniform, coming off the bench to score five points in almost 13 minutes.

But Nambatac and Yap’s first appearance with the Bossing was almost spoiled when the Bolts trimmed an 86-69 lead behind Allein Maliksi’s hot shooting.

Maliksi’s last triple put Meralco behind 94-93 with less than a minute to go. The Bolts on the next play, however, fouled Nambatac, who hit both charities to make it a three-point game before Maliksi missed a chance to tie it with a three.

The last attempt turned out to be only miss from downtown for Maliksi, who ended up with 27 points.

Chris Newsome, fresh from representing Gilas Pilipinas in the two games of the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers window, had 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Bolts.

Blackwater pulled ahead in the third as Nambatac was finally hitting his shots, particularly from beyond the arc. The Bossing drained five threes in that period to hike a 43-41 halftime lead to double figures.

The scores:

BLACKWATER 96—Nambatac 27, Rosario 15, Suerte 11, Hill 10, DiGregorio 9, David 7, Escoto 6, Guinto 5, Yap 5, Jopia 1, Ilagan 0, Kwekuteye 0, Sena 0.

MERALCO 93—Maliksi 27, Newsome 16, Jose 10, Mendoza 10, Black 10, Hodge 6, Banchero 5, Quinto 3, Bates 3, Torres 3, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Pascual 0.



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Quarters: 18-26, 43-41, 72-62, 96-93.





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