Will this be the conference that Baser Amer finally comes to his own?
If the first game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup was any indication, this may just be it.
The former San Beda playmaker was stellar in Meralco’s 94-86 victory over Mahindra to start its 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign as he finished with 19 points on a 3-of-7 shooting from threes, while also grabbing three rebounds and dishing three assists.
Coach Norman Black didn’t fail to acknowledge Amer’s improvements, noting that the Davao City native has really made strides in his game to gain his spot in the starting five.
“He has really matured in between the two conferences. He seems to have a better grasp of the PBA right now, of what he can do and what can’t do. He’s been playing for us really well in the preseason and it came out in the real game today so I’m happy for Baser,” the mentor noted.
But for the soft-spoken Amer, he’s just thankful for his coach’s encouragement.
“I’m grateful to him. I just listened to his advice to be aggressive in practice and I’m lucky that I was able to keep it up in the games. I was aggressive both on offense and defense,” he said.
Amer also gave credit to assistant coach Jimmy Alapag for pushing him to embrace the role as the Bolts’ lead playmaker.
“He tells me every time that this is my time. It wasn’t easy for us when he left, but slowly, I studied the team’s system and I think with a little more confidence, I can get it. I hope I can sustain my game, but I still need help from my teammates.”
More than anything, what drives Amer to play harder is Meralco’s goal to bounce back stronger after a woeful showing in the Philippine Cup.
“We really worked hard for this game. We started practicing early when we got eliminated last conference. We put in the work, helped each other on practice, and we just wanted to gain wins to help boost our confidence,” he said.