Work doesn't stop for Meralco rising star Baser Amer as he shifts focus to Gilas practice
Baser Amer's game has taken a big leap this season, thanks to the hard work he puts in with Meralco coaches Norman Black, Jimmy Alapag, and Ronnie Magsanoc. Jerome Ascano

MERALCO is headed to vacation after seeing its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign come to an end on Friday night in a quarterfinal series loss to TNT KaTropa, but Baser Amer’s work doesn’t stop as he looks forward to suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas.

The Bolts sophomore sensation was one of the new faces added to the Gilas pool that will resume practice on June 20 in preparation for the Fiba Asia Cup and the Southeast Asian Games in August.

“Gusto ko lang magpasalamat kay coach Chot (Reyes) na pinili ako para sa Gilas,” Amer said. “Dapat ‘di ako maging comfortable kung ano yung na-achieve ko ngayon, pinakita ko this conference. Magtatrabaho pa rin ako.”

“Nandyan naman si coach Jimmy (Alapag) at coach Ronnie (Magsanoc),” he added. “’Di ako yung nagsasabi, sila mismo yung magte-text sa akin kung gusto ko mag-extra work.”

The 24-year-old Amer made a strong case for inclusion to the national team owing to his impressive play this season, and he again showed on Friday night why he deserved the call-up after tallying 25 points, nine boards, four assists, and three steals, against five turnovers in 45 minutes.

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While the performance went for naught after they suffered a 104-96 loss in Game Three, it was still a validation of his Gilas inclusion.

“Reward talaga, reward sa lahat ng hard work ko,” the former San Beda star said. “Alam ng teammates ko, pati ng coaches kung paano ako magsipag sa practice.”

Now, Amer, who played for the Gilas cadets in the 2015 SEA Games, is set to reunite with former national teammates in the battle for spots in the Fiba Asia Cup and SEA Games teams.

“Sobrang excited ako, lalo na sa practice kasi lahat sila magagaling, mas gaganahan ka,” Amer said. “Excited ako mag-practice kasi magaling kasama ko at mai-improve ko kung ano yung dapat i-improve.”

Amer’s work for the Bolts also doesn’t stop after seeing their semifinal bid fall short.

“Maghihintay na naman kami para sa next conference, so back to work na naman,” Amer said. “Kung ano man yung pinakita ko this conference, double the effort pa, trabaho pa with coach Jimmy and coach Ronnie.”

Bolts coach Norman Black can definitely attest to his ward’s perseverance.

“He took over the leadership for the team at the point guard position and he's been very productive,” Black said. “I thought he was our leading scorer this conference and probably one of our leading assists guys, and one of our leading rebounders.”

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“Hopefully he can build on that similar to the way Chris Newsome has also continued to improve. Like I said, they’re two young guys who have long careers ahead of them and we expect them to continue to get better.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos