MANILA, Philippines – Former Colegio de San Juan de Letran star Rey Nambatac has no doubts that the Knights can pull off another upset when they play San Beda in Game 3 of the NCAA Season 95 men's basketball finals on Tuesday.
Nambatac has already seen the Knights get it done in Game 1, when they claimed a stunning 65-64 win to hand San Beda its first loss of the tournament.
They fell short in Game 2, with the Red Lions retaliating via a 79-76 triumph, but Nambatac said Game 3 was Letran's for the taking.
"Na-prove na nila na kaya nila ang San Beda," Nambatac told ABS-CBN News.
It will not be an easy task, however. Both of the finals games have gone down the wire, and both teams are anticipating another tight contest in Game 3.
In Game 1, the Knights escaped after Calvin Oftana bricked a potential go-ahead triple in the final seconds. In Game 2, it was the Red Lions' turn to survive, with Fran Yu going down to cramps and Bonbon Batiller bricking a layup off a nice feed by Jerrick Balanza in their last possession.
Nambatac is exhorting the Knights to show the same poise that they displayed in Game 1, so as to get the same result.
"Best advice ko lang sa kanila, need nila na maging composed sa Game 3," said Nambatac. "At saka as much as possible, no error na dapat."
He encouraged Balanza to step up as a leader, and for Yu to continue taking the reigns as the point guard.
"Huwag siya manggigil," Nambatac said of Yu, who scorched the Red Lions for 14 points in the third frame before his legs failed him in the fourth quarter.
"Kailangan, i-outsmart niya 'yung possible na babantay sa kanya, kasi I'm sure na sobrang higpit ng depensa sa kanya," he added.
Nambatac was part of the last Letran team to win the NCAA title, when the Knights shocked San Beda in the Season 91 finals. Then a junior, Nambatac had 13 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and a block as Letran won Game 3 in overtime, 85-82.
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