When Meralco needed someone to take over and lead by example against Blackwater, it found Baser Amer.
The 24-year-old led the Bolts with 31 points in their 104-96 win over the Elite in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals that set up a semifinals matchup against Star.
Amer, who is celebrating his birthday on Friday, averaged a shade under 14 points a game during the eliminations but he knew he had to do more to help the Bolts avoid an upset to the eighth-seeded Elite.
“The coaches just told me to be aggressive, look for opportunities to score,” said Amer in Filipino. “And coach Norman [Black] told me to guide the team.”
Meralco, the top-seeded team in the Governors’ Cup, was in danger of faling to the Elite in the quarterfinals after getting its twice-to-beat advantage neutralized in the first game, losing 92-91.
In their second playoff meeting, the Bolts were down 52-40 at the half before Amer took over.
Amer scored 22 in the second half and hit big shots in the fourth to keep the Elite at bay.
Blackwater had an 84-79 lead in the 9:49 mark of the fourth when Amer sparked an 11-0 run, scoring eight in the spurt, which gave Meralco a 90-84 lead with 8:06 remaining in the game.
“We don’t want to lose and wait for another conference to start,” said Amer. “We get jealous of just sitting around and watching the other teams play. We want to get to the next chapter because it feels good to play.”