CAGAYAN DE ORO - As they waited for their baggage to be dropped at the conveyor belt at Laguindingan Airport on Tuesday morning, Baser Amer posed for a photo with fellow proud son of Davao del Sur Scottie Thompson wearing similar white PBA All-Star t-shirts.
It was not even their All-Star uniform representing the Mindanao team, yet Amer was already wearing it proudly as he cherished his first All-Star selection in just his sophomore year in the league.
“Blessing yun,” the Meralco playmaker said in a chat with SPIN.ph on the eve of the matchup against Gilas Pilipinas. “Sana mapasaya namin ang mga fans at sa ma-enjoy din namin ‘ton Anall-Star na ‘to.”
“Hindi lang naman ‘to sa paglalaro sa basketball, of course magkakaroon kami ng mga bagong kaibigan,” he added. “Halos nakakausap ko sila at mababait naman pala like si Kuya PJ (Simon), Kuya Cyrus (Baguio), and Kuya Sonny (Thoss).
Amer has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive on offense in his second year for the Bolts as he has become the team’s most consistent threat, scoring in double figures in all their seven games so far in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The 24-year-old former San Beda star leads Bolts locals in scoring at 16 points per game, just two behind the average of import Alex Stepheson, while also grabbing 5.7 boards, dishing out 4.4 assists, and collecting 1 steal against only 1.6 turnovers in 34.4 minutes.
And that stellar performance has translated into his maiden All-Star stint.
“Siguro yung hard work ko this season, talagang nasuklian,” Amer said. “Nire-represent ko rin yung team ko, Meralco.”
Amer is also bringing his A-game – while also staying free from injury – to give Gilas Pilipinas a worthy tune-up for the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship.
“Seseryosohin rin naming ‘tong larong ‘to para matulungan namin yung Gilas sa upcoming tournaments nila, pero syempre iwas injury din,” Amer said.
Speaking of the national team, Amer is also eager to play for the squad soon after once representing the country in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
“Of course, kung may opportunity, why not? Isang magandang opportunity na makapaglaro ka sa Gilas to represent the country,” Amer said. “Maraming gusto maglaro sa Gilas.”
With how impressive he’s playing for the Bolts, will the Gilas call-up be sooner than later?
“Hindi ko alam eh. Sana,” Amer said with a smile. “Ipagdasal natin.”
Amer and Thompson are part of the guard-heavy team of Mindanao that also has Jio Jalalon, Mark Barroca, Carlo Lastimosa, Baguio, Simon, Rafi Reavis, Mo Tautuaa, and “imports” Troy Rosario and Sonny Thoss.
Star coach Chito Victolero calls the shots for the team in the first game of the weeklong festivities sponsored by HMR Trading, Mueller, Peak, Crystal Clear, Anako, Davco, Smart, Cloudfone, Petron, and Buffalo Resto Grill.