Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Baser Amer’s leap of faith

This appears on

Baser Amer’s leap of faith
by rick olivares

Last Tuesday, 24 young boys from small high schools in the provinces from Agusan to Butuan to Lucena to Zamboanga listened to former San Beda Red Cubs star Baser Amer dispense with some advice on the night before the Division II All-Star Game of the 2016 SM-NBTC Championships.

Amer grew up in Davao City and was the youngest of three boys. All three boys loved the game of basketball and would play non-stop on sandlots, cement courts, sidewalks… just about anywhere a hoop could be found. He played barefoot and tore up countless slippers. 

Interestingly, there’s a parabolic teaching to Amer’s success.

Baser's father, Abraham Amer, trained this two elder sons who were also talented, to play the game a certain way however, both opted not to heed his advice. Frustrated, the father spoke to his youngest son and told him, “Ikaw na lang ang nag-iisa kong anak na pwede makinig. Pagbigyan mo ako and sundin mo yung mga aking ipgagawa sa ‘yo.”

The youngest son heeded his father’s advice on discipline, learning the game the right way, and being goal-oriented. At that point of Amer’s life, the simple goal was to get an education without having to pay for anything while also graduating without any debts. Baser listened and worked hard on his game endlessly dribbling, shooting, and trying to get stronger. “Hindi naman ako yung pinakamagaling o pinakamalakas,” he debunked. “Ginusto ko lang mag-improve araw-araw. Lagi ko iniisip yung pinagusapan namin ng papa ko kaya nag-stick ako sa plano namin.”

At the core of Baser’s being is his Islamic faith. He would not only constantly read the Quran but he would live its precepts. During the month-long Ramadan that would overlap into the start of the NCAA basketball season, Amer stuck to his fasting. “Mahirap pero nung bata pa ako na-instill na ni papa yung discipline and strong faith sa akin."

Amer was spotted during the early years of the National Basketball Training Center by Ato Badolato who recruited him for San Beda. And the rest as they say, is history. 

When Baser graduated form San Beda this past season, his father wept. "Ang pangarap lang namin ay makapag-aral at magtrabaho. Ganun ka simple.”

The rest… the championships with San Beda, NLEX, and now in the pro leagues with the Meralco Bolts…. it’s all gravy.

“Ngayon nasa Meralco ako, meron din adjustment,” explained Baser. “Iba yung pro game sa college o high school. Pero lagi ko pa rin iniisip yung mga sinabi ng daddy ko na laging ibigay yung best.”

And one of those best pieces of advice Baser got from his father (as quoted from the Quran 24:52), “And whosoever obeys God and His Messenger, fears god, and keeps to his duty (to Him), such are the successful ones."

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