UNLIKE most imports who are expected to carry most of the offensive load, Alex Stepheson knows his main job is to control the boards--and he does it well--for Meralco.
While he knows he can score here and there, Stepheson also knows he doesn't have to and is glad to have the Bolts locals, especially Baser Amer, taking on most of the scoring duties so he can focus more on his role.
The latest evidence was in the Bolts’ 99-91 win over Alaska on Saturday night when Amer scored 19 points to lead seven players who scored at least eight points, while Stepheson hauled down 26 rebounds as the duo showed the way in getting them back on track.
Stepheson, who also joined the scoring party with 17 points, is relieved to have Amer stepping up on the offensive end.
“Yeah, he’s playing really well,” Stepheson said of Amer. “He’s a really good point guard, so anytime a big guy has a good point guard, it makes it a lot easier for him.
“I really enjoy playing with him,” he added. “He’s a smart player, makes the right decisions.”
Bolts coach Norman Black echoed Stepheson’s sentiments on the sophomore playmaker from Davao.
“Baser Amer was very consistent with his play, and he's starting to show that he's one of the better point guards in the league, one of the up-and-coming point guards in the league,” Black said.
With Amer sustaining his sizzling play, Black is content with Stepheson just doing his thing on the boards.
“I know he's not the greatest offensive player in the world and maybe not the most skilled, but he can rebound the basketball,” Black said of the burly 6-foot-10 big man. “He's big. He's actually huge, he's not big, he's huge.”
“He's just a presence in the middle, so that solves a lot of our problems,” he added.