MERALCO coach Norman Black has been encouraging point guard Baser Amer to take more shots, especially in the midst of the team's six-game slump.
Amer finally heeded the advice on Sunday night.
The former San Beda star took 18 shots and scored 22 points against NLEX. More importantly he scored six points in a 9-0 finishing kick that sealed a 108-105 win - just the Bolts' second in eight games in the PBA Governors Cup.
“We really need Baser to score,” Black said. “Majority of our games, they normally try to attack Baser on defense. What I always tell Baser is the way you can get back at them is to score points, attack their guards, and turn their guards into defensive liabilities.”
Black was delighted to see a different man on Sunday.
“Last game (against Ginebra), I don’t think he was aggressive particularly in the first half. He put up seven shots which is way too low for him. It should be around 13, 14 shots a game.
“Tonight, he started the first half like he ended the last game. He didn’t shoot the ball very well but he kept shooting and eventually, they started falling for us,” said Black.
Amer said he took it upon himself to be aggressive on offense especially with the Bolts on a six-game losing skid.
“Malaking bagay ‘to sa amin kasi anim na talo, kumbaga mabigat na sa katawan. Buti nandiyan si coach Norman na lagi kaming kinakausap as a team. As an individual, mino-motivate kami para hindi kami ma-down.
“Sinasabi nila, kapag lagi natatalo, usually ‘yung kumpiyansa mo bumababa, ang hirap gumalaw. Nandiyan si coach Norman, sobrang professional na kinausap niya kami para hindi kami mawalan ng kumpiyansa,” said Amer.
Black also lauded Amer for his heads-up play that led to the game-winner.
“We have a play that we run from the corners in the side that the players got into immediately. But of course, you still have to make the shot to win the basketball game, so Baser did a great job of making the shot,” Black said.