MANILA (UPDATED) - Rain or Shine limited NorthPort to just two points in the third quarter, but still just managed to eke out a 70-68 victory on Sunday in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup at the AUF Gym in Angeles City, Pampanga.
In a game wherein both teams struggled to score, the Batang Pier tied a league record for futility as they scored just two points in the third period, after making only one of their 21 field goals.
Still, the Batang Pier clawed their way back and even tied the game at 68 with three seconds to go off a Christian Standhardinger bucket, only for Rain or Shine guard Rey Nambatac to convert the go-ahead free throws with 1.3 seconds left in the game.
Javee Mocon then blocked Sean Manganti's attempt at a game-winning three-pointer, hiking Rain or Shine's record to 3-0.
ROS coach Caloy Garcia was almost apologetic at the matter in which they won, as his team shot a paltry 29.7% from the field in the game. NorthPort was a shade better at 30.4%.
"Today was a really ugly win for us," said Garcia. "I wanted a better game for us… I think we can do better."
The coach believed that exhaustion played a factor in their performance, as the Elasto Painters were playing their third game this week.
Rain or Shine trailed 46-40 at the half, but proceeded to limit NorthPort to just two points in the third period while scoring 14 to grab a 46-40 lead. According to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III, the Batang Pier equaled the all-time record for fewest points in a quarter.
Barangay Ginebra had a similar 2-point third quarter in an 83-54 loss vs Coke on April 26, 2003, while Mobiline did it in the first quarter of a 71-69 loss to Sta. Lucia on February 28, 2001.
NorthPort exceeded their third quarter total in the first 30 seconds of the fourth frame when LA Revilla knocked down a three-pointer. But Rain or Shine remained in control, even leading by 11 points, 63-52, with five minutes left off an Adrian Wong triple.
A three-pointer by Kelly Nabong sparked NorthPort's final run, and they tied the game when Standhardinger powered through the ROS defense for an undergoal stab. But Nambatac was able to fish for a foul in Rain or Shine's next possession, and he coolly knocked down the freebies that gave his team the win.
"Ever since, when he was my player in Letran, I've already seen that he has the guts to take those shots," Garcia said of Nambatac.
Wong, the rookie out of Ateneo, led Rain or Shine with 15 points built on three triples, while Sidney Onwubere added 11 points and five rebounds. Nambatac finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
NorthPort fell to 0-3 in the bubble. Christian Standhardinger (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Sean Anthony (13 points, 12 rebounds) both had double-doubles in a losing effort.