Going up against his alma mater, San Beda, for the first time in his career, Meralco guard Baser Amer could not help but recall all the fond memories he had with the Red Lions in a colorful five-year collegiate career in the NCAA.
After all, the 6-foot Amer, 23, had experienced both highs and lows with the Red Lions, helping anchor their ‘five-peat’ reign that ended with a bitter finals defeat to their archivals, the Letran Knights, last year, putting a dampener to one of the most successful personal showings in the collegiate ranks.
But his basketball life continued, with the Davao City native getting selected 7th overall by Meralco in the pro league’s rookie draft last year.
Yet, Amer still yearns playing in the collegiate level.
“Para sa akin, na-miss ko talaga maglaro ng college,” he told FOX Sports after the Bolts defeated the Red Lions 88-80 in their tuneup match on Friday at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.
“Kumabaga ang sarap balikan ng college days kasi limang taon rin ako du’n,” he noted. “Iba kasi ang samahan ng college—nasa dorm kayo, nasa school kayo. Kumbaga magkakasama sa practice, magkakasama sa dorm, pati na rin sa school. Iba talaga ‘yung college.”
But Amer said he’s pleased to see his former San Beda teammates, notably veterans Radge Tongco and Jayvee Mocon, again.
“Nang makita ko sila, tuwang-tuwa ako kasi ako ‘yung parang beterano sa Beda last year. Sabi nu’ng karamihan dyan, ma-miss rin nila ako,” he said, his eyes focused on the Red Lions who were cooling down their heels on the other side of the court.
Despite his absence, along with five other key cogs including versatile Art Dela Cruz and Nigerian reinforcement Ola Adeogun, Amer is confident the Red Lions can plug the holes—sooner than later—in the league’s 92nd season that gets going next Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Malakas pa rin naman sila dahil maganda naman ang recruitment ng San Beda. Pwede na ‘yung team nila, lalaban rin talaga,” he said. “May mga bago, may mga luma. Time na nila ngayon ipakita ‘yung mga talents nila.”
If the Red Lions intend to go all the way, Amer feels they have to utilize their defensive tenacity and quickness to the hilt, saying: “‘Yung priority ni coach Jamike (Jarin) ‘yung defense talaga. Ang bibilis nila tapos sakto din para sa sistema ni Coach. Ito na ‘yung time na makuha ulit ang championship.”
Amer added the Red Lions have also helped the Bolts in their buildup for the pro league’s season-ending Governors Cup tentatively set on July 15.
“Good experience rin sa amin. Kasi wala pa rin kami sa kundisyon tapos ang bibilis nila. Kumbaga nagtutulungan lang kami,” he concluded. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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