Alapag welcomes Baser Amer as 'heir apparent,' rues All-Star snub for Newsome
"I don’t know how you don’t have the reigning Rookie of the Year not part of any of the three (PBA All-Star) teams," says Meralco assistant coach Jimmy Alapag. Jerome Ascano

IT may be too early to tell, but Jimmy Alapag has already welcomed the possibility of Baser Amer being his “heir apparent,” hoping for the Meralco playmaker can exceed what he managed to do in a storied career.

Amer sustained his impressive showing for the Bolts on Wednesday night, pumping in 17 points, 11 boards, six assists, and one steal in 33 minutes to lead the team to an 89-83 win over Rain or Shine in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup matchup.

“Absolutely (he can be my heir apparent),” Alapag, a current Meralco assistant coach, said of the sophomore playmaker. “By the time when all things are said and done, I hope he can surpass what I was fortunate to do in my career.”

“At the end of the day, that's the nature of the game, you try your best when you're competing and you're training… after that, you look back and say, ‘hey I did pretty well.’”

“I hope he can look back on his career, be it only the second year so far, maybe ten or fifteen years, he can look back and say, 'I had a pretty successful career too,'” the former Gilas captain continued. “He's on his way and I know it's still early in this conference, but he's been very, very good for us.”

[See Amer overcomes self-doubt to become playmaker Meralco needs]

From being a mentor to Amer when they played together, the retired Alapag is now also a fan of the former San Beda star from Davao.

“I don't know if I can put it into words how happy I am,” Alapag said. “I was fortunate to have a year with him where we are working together, day in and day out.

I’ve known Baser since college back when he played for coach Jamike at San Beda. I even helped him back when I was with coach Tab with the cadets almost two years ago.

“Just to see his progress and growth in such a short time, and now that Im not playing, I can turn off the competition mode in my head and just become a fan again,” he added. “And at the same time, coaching and trying to help these guys, just to see how well he is play, Im really happy for him.” 

That’s why Amer’s All-Star inclusion was hardly a surprise for Alapag. What baffles him is Chris Newsome’s exclusion.

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“I’m excited for Baser, he's more than deserving, but I still think Newsome should be out there,” Alapag said. “I don’t know how you don’t have the reigning Rookie of the Year not part of any of the three teams. If it’s one game, one team, I honestly understand there's a lot better players in the league, but he's one of the best players in the team and he's ROY, I think he deserves a spot.

“But it's my opinion, it's unfortunate,” he added. “It's a fun time for the league and the fans, so I'm excited (for Amer) to go out there and get a chance to experience it.”

[See Newsome not losing sleep over All-Star snub]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos