BASER Amer took it upon himself to take charge for Meralco when everything wasn’t going right in its playoff game against Blackwater for a seat in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals.
The sight of watching another team celebrate at the Bolts’ expense suddenly flashed on his mind – especially during last year’s finals of this same season-ending tournament against Barangay Ginebra.
“Ayaw na naming bumalik doon na maghihintay uli kami next conference. Papanoorin uli namin yung ibang teams, nakakainggit para sa akin,” said Amer, obviously referring to last season’s title series against the Kings, which the Bolts lost in six games.
“Gusto namin mag move na sa next chapter.”
And so not wanting Meralco’s season to be over this early, Baser erupted for 22 points in the second half when the Bolts battled their way back and edged past the upset-conscious Elite, 104-96, Thursday night in the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The sophomore guard finished with 31 big points – his second career-best – on 11 of 17 shooting and added four rebounds and three assists while serving as the glue that kept the top-seeded Bolts together during those trying moments against the Elite.
“Sinabihan ko sila na one stop at a time lang kami,” recalled Baser of what was going through his mind when the Elite was wrecking havoc on the Bolts midway in the second half.
“Sinabihan lang ako din ako ng mga coaches na maging aggressive. Kaya ang mentality ko i-guide ko yung team from start to finish.”
But Amer give credit where credit is due.
He acknowledged the big contribution of veteran big man Ranidel de Ocampo defensively as he put the cuffs on Blackwater import Henry Walker in the second half, limiting the prolific former NBA player to just seven points during that stretch after erupting for 27 in the first two quarters.
And of course, there’s the Elite themselves, who surpassed the expectations of many by pushing the Bolts to the limit.
“Credit to Blackwater kasi nahirapan talaga kami hanggang sa dulo,” said the playmaker out of San Beda.
The win likewise proved to be fitting birthday gift for Amer, who turns 25 on Friday.
“Isang malaking regalo para sa akin, and of course, para sa Meralco,” he added.