Rain or Shine kept its immaculate PBA Philippine Cup record spotless with a nail-biting 70-68 win over NorthPort at the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga on Sunday, October 18.
Rey Nambatac came through in crunch time for the Elasto Painters anew as he hit the game-winning free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining for their third victory in as many games.
Struggling with his shots throughout the game, Christian Standhardinger knotted the score for the Batang Pier at 68-68 behind an off-balanced shot, but Nambatac had other plans.
Nambatac, who finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists, drove to the basket and fished a foul from Paolo Taha to propel Rain or Shine to a tie at the top spot with TNT.
NorthPort had one final chance to steal the triumph only to witness rookie Sean Manganti get his potential game-winning three-pointer blocked by Javee Mocon as time expired.
In one of the lowest scoring PBA games in recent memory, the Elasto Painters banked on young guns Adrian Wong and Sidney Onwubere to deliver the scoring goods.
Rookie Wong had 15 points, including the triple that gave Rain or Shine a 63-52 lead with 5 minutes left, while Onwubere chipped in 11 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
Standhardinger put up 13 points on a 5-of-18 clip to go with 11 rebounds in the loss that saw the Batang Pier score only 2 points in a horrendous third-quarter showing.
NorthPort, which remained winless at 0-3, tied the PBA all-time record for fewest points scored in a quarter set by Barangay Ginebra in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup and Mobiline in the 2011 All-Filipino Cup.
Sean Anthony had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Garvo Lanete added 13 points and 2 steals, while Kelly Nabong chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Batang Pier.
Rain or Shine 70 - Wong 15, Onwubere 11, Nambatac 10, Mocon 6, Doliguez 6, Belga 5, Yap 5, Torres 5, Arana 3, Norwood 2, Ponferada 2, Rosales 0, Borboran 0.
NorthPort 68 - Lanete 13, Anthony 13, Standhardinger 13, Nabong 10, Taha 4, Cruz 3, Revilla 7, Manganti 3, Subido 0, Elorde 2, Guinto 0.
Quarters : 14-25, 32-38, 46-40, 70-68.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.