Fresh off his heroics late in the season opener for Rain or Shine, Rey Nambatac made sure there wouldn't be a letdown Friday against Terrafirma.
Nambatac came alive and paced the offense for Rain or Shine, which shrugged off a third quarter challenge from the Dyip to take a 91-82 win and stay unbeaten in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
After nailing a clutch triple that offset a cold scoring night against San Miguel on Tuesday, Nambatac put up a better game offensively and scored 19 points and three triples for the Elasto Painters, who forced a four-team tie with TNT, Phoenix and Barangay Ginebra atop the standings at 2-0.
"My mindset coming into this game was to really bounce back coming from a bad game against SMB," he said during the walk-off interview. "So when I was included in the starting five, I really became aggressive because I knew I'd find the flow of my timing there."
Rain or Shine led by as many as 13 in a defensive first half before a Terrafirma team that looked refreshed after the break climbed back and even snatched the lead for a few minutes after Juami Tiongson put them on top 58-55 with a personal 7-0 run.
But the Elasto Painters snapped out of a funk and immediately had an answer with its own 7-0 counter to take back a lead that it would never relinquish in the wire-to-wire win.
Nambatac later came alive in the fourth and scored nine, including a triple that pushed the lead to 82-66 for the biggest margin of the game.
CJ Perez tried to make it a ball game by spearheading a 10-0 run after that triple, but Nambatac doused that rally with a long three of his own with 2:43 to go to stop Terrafirma's momentum. Norwood then tacked on four more, including a tough fadeaway, to effectively seal it for the Elasto Painters.
"We came in better shape as expected. As of now, most teams are still trying to get back into that game shape. We're lucky that we're 2-0 now, but we can't be complacent about it. It's gonna be a tough game every night," coach Caloy Garcia said after the game.
Norwood, Javee Mocon and Beau Belga also added 14 each.
Terrafirma (0-2) wasted another big game from Perez, who put up 26 points, 10 boards and six dimes. Tiongson added 15 on 7-for-12 shooting, while Glenn Khobuntin added 10.
Rain or Shine will gun for a third straight win Sunday against a NorthPort team still searching for its first win of the tournament.
"Right now they're struggling but knowing coach Pido (Jarencio), he will find ways to win. We just have to try to find ways to beat him. Coach Pido's clever when facing us. I think the last time we played them, we had a big lead and we lost. So we can't be complacent," said Garcia.
Rain or Shine (91) -- Nambatac 19, Norwood 14, Mocon 14, Belga 14, Onwubere 8, Rosales 6, Yap 4, Torres 4, Wong 3, Ponferada 3, Borboran 2, Tolentino 0.
Terrafirma (82) -- Perez 26, Tiongson 15, Khobuntin 12, Adams 10, Cahilig 7, Ramos 6, Camson 5, Celda 1, Calvo 0, McCarthy 0, Faundo 0, Gabayni 0, Agovida 0, Balagasay 0.
Quarters: 19-16, 44-34, 66-58, 91-82.
• Adrian Wong, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 Rookie Draft, scored his first PBA points on a three-point play with 10:46 to go in the game.
• Roosevelt Adams, last year's top pick, struggled for the second consecutive game and only had 10 points (3-for-10) and five rebounds in 31 minutes.
• Rain or Shine held Terrafirma to just 6-for-28 on threes (21.4 percent), won the rebounding battle 59-46, and had 15 second chance points compared to just six from the Dyip.
• Rain or Shine vs. NorthPort on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 4 p.m
• Terrafirma vs. San Miguel on Monday, Oct. 19, at 6:45 p.m