PBA: NLEX reunion for Baser Amer and other Lions while, with everything hanging over him, Jericho Cruz propels SMB towards the title

Feb 14, 2024

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Baser Amer has relocated. After inking a contract with the team on Monday night, on the third day of the team’s four-day camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna, the seasoned point guard is on his way to NLEX.

Important members of the NLEX organization were present for the signing, including Head Coach Frankie Lim, Team Governor Ronald Dulatre, Team Manager Larry Fonacier, and President Jose Luigi L. Bautista.

Nine-year veteran Amer is now a member of the NLEX Road Warriors, having parted ties with Blackwater earlier this month.

As a homecoming for Amer, his signing to the NLEX squad not only bolsters the group’s backcourt but also instills a feeling of familiarity.

Beyond his most recent contract, Amer has been associated with NLEX since he was a member of the Road Warriors in the PBA D-League, where he was instrumental in leading the team to three titles.

In addition to Amer and Lim, the Red Lions Robert Bolick, Borgie Hermida, Dave Marcelo, Jake Pascual, and Anthony Semerad are also in the NLEX camp.

Meanwhile, Jericho Cruz witnessed San Miguel lose to Magnolia in Game 3 of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup Finals a few short days ago.

After receiving five technical fouls, the tough-minded winger was forced to serve a one-game suspension, which left him little more than a home spectator. As per league regulations, receiving that many T’s immediately results in the aforementioned penalty.

He did make a comeback for Game 4, but his impact did not really show up until Sunday night in Game 5 of the best-of-7 championship series.

With 51.9 seconds remaining, Cruz made a dagger three-pointer from the right pocket to tie his career-high of 30 points. This helped the Beermen win 108-98 and get one step closer to capturing another championship.

The 33-year-old claimed that although it was a truly flawless atonement, he is no longer burdened in any way by that premature suspension.

He also had a rebound game with his 30-piece, as he managed 11 points after shooting just 1-of-6 from outside the arc in the previous game.

It’s also the best postseason game of his career, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as it moved the league’s most successful team one victory away from claiming its 29th total championship.

He is even more honored given that he outperformed current defensive player of the year and close friend Jio Jalalon in that game. In the midst of the close game in the fourth quarter, both men even engaged in some lighthearted joking.

Despite his impressive performance on Wednesday, when San Miguel will attempt to win the series, Cruz is still very much in the driver’s seat.

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