BASER Amer may have fallen short in his bid to lead Meralco to the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals after an overtime loss to TNT KaTropa, 104-96, in Game Three on Friday, but he has earned the respect of arguably the best player in the PBA in his position.
The Bolts sophomore playmaker drew praise from TNT superstar Jayson Castro, who admitted that it took his best to try to limit Amer in their personal matchup in their quarterfinal series that the Texters won in three games.
Castro even went as far as studying Amer’s tendencies after seeing the latter reset his career-high to 32 points in the Bolts’ Game Two win.
“Oo naman (pinahirapan ako),” Castro admitted. “Aaminin ko na sobrang hindi lang challenge eh; lahat na, pinag-aralan ko yung mga moves niya after nung Game Two, kasi ang galing niyang gumamit ng ball screen; at the same time, mga mismatch, nakikita niya eh, kung sino yung aatakehin niya.
“So talagang na-push talaga ako,” he added. “As in lahat ng defense na alam ko, ginawa ko na.”
Castro, an offensive dynamo who scattered 31 markers in Game Three, held Amer scoreless in the extra session after he scored 25 points in regulation.
“Kinapos siya (sa OT) kasi may ginawa din kaming scheme sa kanya,” Castro said.
“Marami (kaming ginawang scheme), pero halos hindi umepekto sa kanya eh,” he added with a chuckle. “Kaya siguro yung pinaka-last siguro (na scheme) is deny him na lang, pahirapan kumuha ng bola para tumakbo siya ng tumakbo.”
Still, Castro is convinced the future will only look brighter for Amer.
“Sobrang natutuwa ako kasi ang laki ng in-improve niya from last year, at the same time, yung confidence niya nandun na. For sure, gagaling pa yun,” Castro said. “Nakita naman natin yung decision-making niya, nandun na; yung puso niya, buong-buo na.
“For sure, magiging top point guard siya sa PBA,” he added.