Learning its lessons from Game 1, Racal came out with a lot of spunk on the defensive end as it established early control against Cignal-San Beda.
Those adjustments resulted to the 100-90 Game 2 victory for the Tile Masters on Monday, as they equalized the series and forced a winner-take-all affair in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals.
Rey Nambatac shared that Racal’s defensive schemes truly spelled the difference as it had every answer to the Hawkeyes’ second half rallies.
“We really adjusted on the defensive end and that’s what brought us the win. Our defense really bore fruit for us,” he said in Filipino.
Veering away from the defense they employed in the semifinals, the Tile Masters contained the Hawkeyes’ usual hitters.
“Game 1 was really a motivation for us because we were there. We trailed by five points, but we couldn’t finish the job,” he said. “This time, we had no let-ups and made sure that we will get the win.”
Nambatac was a beneficiary in the adjustments, with him taking advantage of the creases on the Hawkeyes’ defense en route to 24 points, four rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
But for the Letran guard, it’s not just him but rather it was the whole team following coach Jerry Codiñera’s system which allowed Racal to live another day.
“I just followed the system and we weren’t too overeager. We were patient in letting our game come to us so even in the fourth quarter, we still had control of the game,” he said.
As the Finals go on a do-or-die Game 3 on Thursday, Nambatac is bracing for a tougher outing for both teams with everything at stake.
“Game 3 will have more pressure on both teams because it’s already a do-or-die,” he said. “We’ll just do our best and we know that we can get this one.”