04 November 2015

Bolts' Future Backcourt Tandem is Secure

Baser Amer
After signing rookie point-guard Baser Amer to a three-year maximum deal, the Meralco Bolts has just secured their future backcourt tandem. A few weeks ago, the team has also signed their other first round draft pick Chris Newsome to the same 3-year contract.

The contracts meant a starting monthly salary of PhP 1.5 million for the former San Beda College Ateneo stalwarts in their first year with the franchise, and eventually escalating to PhP 3.375 on the final season.

Newsome, who played two years with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, was taken with the fourth pick in the 2015 PBA Draft last 24 August. The 6-foot-2 Filipino-American standout averaged 14.1 points, 7.8 boards, and 2.6 assists a game with in the UAAP in 2014.

The 23-year-old Amer, on the other hand, was the No. 7 overall pick (first round), but join the Bolts late after he had to wrap up the Red Lions failed bid to win a sixth straight NCAA men’s basketball championship after losing to the Letran Knights in overtime in the deciding Game Three of the Finals, 85-82.

Amer finished with 14 points and engineered the Red Lions’ comeback from eight points down late in regulation to force extension play.

Unfortunately, the Mendiola-based school fell short in overtime, ending Amer’s bid to win a fifth straight championship before ending his collegiate career.

Meralco head coach Norman Black is happy with the two picks his team wound up with.

"So, we wanted to try to take care of other weaknesses, which we felt were at the shooting guard and at the point guard, so that’s what we really tried to do at this draft: we tried to strengthen our positions at shooting guard and point guard," said the 11-time PBA head coach.

"We can switch most pick-and-rolls with him, defensively, and offensively, he can play the point," Black said about Newsome.

"He can play the shooting guard, so he gives us a lot of versatility, he gives us a lot of athleticism, he gives us an opportunity to get out and run and push the basketball, so we’re very, very happy that we were able to get him in the draft."

"In drafting Amer, it just gives us a very quality young point guard coming into the team," he later added about drafting Amer.

The pride of Davao is relishing the opportunity to play with and be taken under the wing of Jimmy Alapag at Meralco.

"Number one idol ko talaga si Jimmy,” the rookie playmaker admitted in a chat with Spin.ph after practice on the eve of his pro debut. "Nung bata ako, pag tumitira ako, may kasamang, 'Jimmyyy Alapaaag!'"

With the game versus Blackwater Elite just a few hours away, it will be interesting to see if Amer will get his chance to make his PBA debut.

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