MANILA, Philippines – They were unable to lead the Knights to the Final Four in their brief partnership, but Colegio de San Juan de Letran coach Jeff Napa is confident that the best is yet to come for their former ace, Rey Nambatac.
Nambatac exited Letran on a losing note, having bowed to San Sebastian College in a playoff for the last spot in the NCAA Season 93 semifinals last October 20. It marked the second straight season that the Knights failed to reach the Final Four after winning it all in Season 91.
Nine days later, Nambatac took the next step in his basketball career when he was drafted seventh overall by Rain or Shine in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.
Napa did not see his former star shooting guard climb the stage and wear his new Rain or Shine jacket, as he was attending to his duties for National University at the time. Yet he immediately sent a message to Nambatac upon the conclusion of their game.
“Late ko na-monitor (‘yung draft),” Napa told ABS-CBN News on Sunday.
“Pero I’m sure naman na maganda ang mangyayari sa kanya, lalo na’t na-pick siya ng Rain or Shine,” he added.
In Rain or Shine, Nambatac reunites with one of his former collegiate coaches Caloy Garcia, as well as a former teammate in Raymond Almazan. Thus, Napa is confident that Nambatac is in good hands.
“Puro mga (taga) Letran doon,” he said.
“Bright future talaga kay Rey,” Napa said further. “Malaki na ang pinag-mature niya. I wish him good luck sa bago niyang career, and I’m sure naman that Rey will be doing better sa pro.”
Still, Napa offered Nambatac a piece of advice before the guard formally starts his professional career.
“Maging consistent ‘yung shooting niya. ‘Yung leadership niya kasi, ‘yun na ang na-build namin this season. At siyempre, maging mas aggressive pa siya, lalo sa depensa para maging combo guard talaga siya,” the coach said.
Nambatac averaged 16.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists for the Knights in Season 93, though he disappointed in his final game as he only scored 11 points in their 74-69 loss to the Golden Stags.
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