SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Baser Amer badly wanted to bring Meralco a step closer to their initial goal in the bubble which is to return to the Philippine Cup playoffs.
Amer and the Bolts last made it to the All-Filipino postseason five years ago when they ended up in the quarterfinals.
That is why the 28-year-old playmaker dished out a solid performance to power Meralco past Rain or Shine, 85-78, on Thursday at the AUF Arena.
It was a crucial victory for the Bolts as they moved just a win away from virtually sealing a quarterfinals berth with a 5-3 record.
Amer drilled in 14 points, draining seven of those in the Bolts’ balanced attack in the third quarter that enabled them to take a commanding 74-51 lead over the Elasto Painters.
The four-time D-League champion and the rest of Meralco then weathered Rain or Shine’s late fightback to carve out the important result.
“Talagang ‘yung motivation namin is makapasok sa playoffs kasi the last five years in All-Filipino ‘di kami nakakapasok,” said Amer, who flirted with a triple-double as he tallied seven assists and six rebounds.
“Malaking bagay ‘tong panalo na ‘to kasi ‘pag nakita mo ‘yung standings talagang dikit-dikit. Gusto namin makapasok sa top four and makapaglaro sa playoffs,” he added.
The former San Beda stalwart redeemed himself from his poor stat line in Meralco’s 89-85 win against Blackwater on Wednesday.
Coach Norman Black could only wish for Amer to sustain his scoring brilliance.
“We’re a much better team when Baser scores. Baser is not one of the most potent defensive point guards in the league that’s why most other teams target him on defense. But when he’s scoring the basketball it makes things a lot easier for us particularly since a lot of his shots are coming from the perimeter,” said the multi-titled mentor.
“And we just hope that every night he can shoot like what he did tonight.”