07 September 2015

Rookie Watch: Baser Amer

Baser Amer
What do we know about Meralco Bolts No. 7 pick in the just concluded draft?

Baser Amer is a diminutive guard from Davao who has shown to have a big heart and never backed down in the biggest of big moments. He can also be the chief reliever of veteran Jimmy Alapag since the other guards in the Bolts roster are either one-dimensional player or just too tentative to make the necessary impact. What the Bolts need is a game-changer and Amer gives them that.

Even from the start, Amer looked destined to be a basketball superstar. Growing up in a basketball-loving family, Amer honed the fundamentals of his game just outside their house, drilling in baskets in a makeshift ring attached to a huge tree.

Amer was trained to do battle early in his childhood as he went up against his father and brother, both of whom stand between 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 - definitely not your average Filipino. Basketball was the bonding activity of the men in his household and even though Baser did not undergo formal hoops training in his grade school days, he believed that he was destined for something big.

And even back then, Amer knew that he would be a San Beda Red Lion.

"Nung nasa Davao pa lang ako, napapanood ko na sila sa TV," Amer told Rappler. "Gusto ko makapaglaro doon ng basketball kaya naging goal ko na makapunta ng Maynila and makapaglaro for them."

Leaving the province, his comfort zone was not an easy decision to make. But Baser was bent on making it big with the Red Lions and fortunately for him, he has a family who understood his decision.

"Supportive naman yung family ko," he said. "Lalo ang father ko. Kase dun din niya ako gusto mapunta."

Then-national youth head coach Eric Altamirano paved the way for Amer to make it to Manila, where everything happened in the blink of an eye. Before he could absorb everything that's happening, Baser was already on his way to San Beda High School.

Amer quickly absorbed the Red Cubs' winning tradition, copping two championships and a Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2010 as he turned into the darling of NCAA juniors play, the same way Kiefer Ravena was treated in the UAAP high school wars.

The Filipino Muslim was so good that he almost normed a triple-double (16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 11.7 assists) - something almost unheard of in NCAA hoops - in his senior year.

Not contented, Amer continued his winning ways into college and collected back-to-back championships for the San Beda seniors team, the second of which was more special as he bagged the Finals MVP award.

Amer led the Red Lions by firing 20 points in Game 1 before completing a splendid finals run with 14 points in their series-clinching bamboozling of the Letran Knights in Game 3.

With the collegiate ranks already under the Lion King's reign, Amer brought his exciting game to the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League), where he showcases his wares for four-time champion NLEX.

And while the spotlight was always on him in San Beda, Baser played a completely different part with the Red Warriors - a role player who is expected to deliver anytime he's brought in. Like a total team player, he takes it in stride.

"All I want is to win," he shared. "All of my teammates are important to me. I am in a different team so kailangan mag-sacrifice. Lalo na sa NLEX. Super ang gagaling nito."

Although a newbie in the Road Warriors' scheme of things, Amer still played a pivotal role for NLEX in achieving their fourth straight championship, proving his mettle for coming up big in the clutch anew and earning the nickname "Mr. Fourth Quarter."

"Super malaking opportunity para sa akin ang D-League, lalo na ang NLEX," he said. "Madami akong natutunan sa kanila and at the same time, madaming new friends."

With the D-League behind him, Amer is now ready to strut his wares in the PBA with the Bolts having a good chance of making him an electrifying player.

(Photo credits to http://rivals.ph)

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