Norman Black can't wait for Baser Amer return to lessen load on Jimmy Alapag
Jimmy Alapag was forced to play 32 minutes for Meralco in Baser Amer's absence. Jaime Campos

MERALCO coach Norman Black is hoping Baser Amer can return as soon as possible to lessen the load on Jimmy Alapag early in their PBA Governors’ Cup campaign.

Aside from import Allen Durham (nose), Amer is also nursing an injury, a sore back that has caused the rookie playmaker to miss the Bolts’ first two games and forced the 38-year-old Alapag to play extended minutes.

“(We miss Amer) very much so. I think I’m really playing Jimmy way too many minutes,” Black said as Alapag played 32 minutes in their 98-95 loss to TNT Katropa on Saturday.

“Normally, we like to keep Jimmy around eighteen to twenty minutes…so we really need Baser to come back,” he added, airing the hope that Amer can be healthy enough to return next Saturday against Ginebra.

Alapag, though, seemed to have been fine with the longer playing time as he scattered 12 assists, 11 points, and three boards as the starting point guard against his former team.

“I love those guys,” said the former league MVP, who played his first 12 seasons at TNT. “You don’t go through what we’ve been through the years, so those guys are family to me off the court.”

“But when we’re out there, we’re going to compete,” he was quick to add. “I think down the stretch, you saw the best come out of a lot of us and that’s the nature of competition.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos