Ace guard Rey Nambatac was quick to make an impression as Rain or Shine gained an early footing in the opening week of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After a long break, Nambatac came out like a house on fire and anchored the Elasto Painters' strong 2-0 start for a joint lead with Meralco on top of the standings.
The former Letran stalwart normed a double-double of 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds on top of 1.5 assists in his team’s wins against NLEX and Blackwater — making him the first PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the new season.
Nambatac rifled in 19 points and eight rebounds in the E-Painters' close 83-82 win over the Road Warriors before following it up with a 21-12 double-double in their 72-61 drubbing of the Bossing.
He bested new Bolt Mac Belo (17.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg) for the weekly citation being handed out by members of the media covering the PBA beat.
For Rain or Shine new mentor Chris Gavina, Nambatac's fine start was no ordinary after heeding the call of taking a step forward for ROS from here on.
"I've talked to Rey that he needs to take that role for us, kind of like Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker or Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday and he embraced it," said Gavina on the 7th overall pick of the 2017 draft.
"He loves the pressure. He's built for it. He has grown and developed, and his confidence has come a long way. I think he knows now that he is starting to separate himself in regards to being able to take over a game and he likes it."
The 27-year-old gunner indeed did not disappoint, both responding to Gavina's challenge and gifting him two quick, wins as the new man at the helm for Rain or Shine
"I'm hoping that he can continue that mindset as we move forward," concluded Gavina.