Rain or Shine erased an eight-point deficit before Rey Nambatac capped the furious rally with a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left and the Elasto Painters edged Blackwater, 83-80, Saturday in Game 1 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Carl Montgomery instigated that run with a triple, Gabe Norwood unleashed his own to tie the game at 80-all, and Nambatac faked off Roi Sumang before launching the game-winner from 25 feet as the Elasto Painters drew first blood in the best-of-three series.
Nambatac scored five of his 13 points in the final 90 seconds of the thrilling match which also marked the second time the two teams faced off in the quarterfinals.
"My coach gave me confidence and free will to do as I wish. Luckily that paid off. I was able to repay that trust," said Nambatac.
While the Elasto Painters caught fire in the waning seconds, Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. went cold and botched two crucial shots - a turn-around jumper against Nambatac and Norwood and a three-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime.
"It's a lucky win. I thought we're going to lose. That's a really big shot for Rey," said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.
Ed Daquioag led Rain or Shine with 19 points, while Montgomery posted 17 points and 19 rebounds for the Elasto Painters, who will have a chance to advance to the semifinals with a win on Tuesday.
The loss spoiled the return of Greg Smith, who replaced Staphon Blair for the Elite. Smith, who last played for the team in the same tournament in 2017, finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds but made little impact when it mattered most.
Smith is Blackwater's third import this conference.
Parks, meanwhile, added 20 points, six rebounds, and game-high five turnovers for the Elite, who seemed in control after unleashing an 11-0 run halfway through the fourth period to take a 76-67 lead.
Rain or Shine 83 - Daquioag 19, Montgomery 17, Nambatac 13, Belga 11, Norwood 10, Rosales 5, Mocon 5, Ponferada 2, Onwubere 1, Borboran 0, Torres 0.
Blackwater 80 - Parks 20, Belo 17, Smith 16, Maliksi 12, Sumang 5, Al-Hussaini 3, Cortez 3, Alolino 2, Sena 2, DiGregorio 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 50-39, 59-61, 83-80.
-Rain or Shine ended the game on an 11-0 run.
-Blackwater has only won one game in the playoffs. They have been to the playoffs only four times.
-In 2017, Smith normed 27.7 points, league-best 22.09 rebounds, 4.91 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks in 11 games for the Elite.
Game 2 - Tuesday, 7:00 PM at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum