If experience is the best teacher, then Mason Amos has all the trappings to become an achiever.
The Filipino-Australian big man, who has yet to play a single game in college, turned in a swashbuckling debut in Gilas Pilipinas’ 107-96 romp of visiting Lebanon in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Friday night.
Amos fired 13 points built on an immaculate 5-for-5 shooting clip and registered a pair of rebounds in less than nine minutes of floor time, a performance he carved out in a squad filled with overseas campaigners and battle-hardened PBA stars—including two of the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) awardees.
He scored 11 of his total output in the third quarter as he figured prominently in taking the wind out of the Cedars’ sails.
All that while dealing with jitters.
“I just stepped up,” the 18-year-old bruiser told reporters on the heels of the triumphant stand at the cavernous Philippine Arena. “I was really nervous, because like I’ve said, a lot of fans were out here.”
The experience in a high-level international match while playing alongside pros will only beef up Amos’ game moving forward.
“Playing with the PBA players? As an 18-year-old, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. But being able to prove that I could play with them? They just told me to be confident in my shot. They said that if I got a look, take it. And that’s what happened,” he said.
In an earlier interview with the Inquirer, Amos said that he was taking cues from six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo. Both big men knocked down triples in the payback win over the Lebanese.
“He’s making me a better player,” Amos said of Fajardo.
Chot Reyes knows Gilas is just scratching the surface with Amos, but that didn’t keep the national coach from heaping praises on the youngster who could very well be a cinch for the roster against Jordan this Monday.
“He still has a lot to learn, a lot to develop especially on defense. But you can see his shooting prowess for a big man and that’s a weapon we can continue to exploit moving forward,” Reyes said.
And Amos is pumped up for more.
“Philippines, we’re ready for the next one. We’re looking forward to it,” he said.
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