Mason Amos finally displayed brilliance after a forgettable debut in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The prized rookie forward struggled in Ateneo de Manila University’s opener, scoring just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 17 minutes and two seconds on the floor. The Blue Eagles lost to National University, 77-64.
Then came Amos’ redemption in a special way, making his mark in his first Ateneo-La Salle game in the UAAP.
With the game going down to the wire, the 6-foot-7 big man showcased his versatility when he executed a turnaround fadeaway jumper that gave the Blue Eagles a 64-61 lead.
Kevin Quiambao answered for the Green Archers with a triple, but Amos responded in a remarkable manner. He made back-to-back triples from the left wing that pushed Ateneo to a 70-64 advantage.
Ateneo emerged victorious, thanks in part to Amos’ late-game heroics, with a final score of 77-72 on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“I think my teammates got me the right looks at the right time, and it was just in rhythm for my part,” said the soft-spoken Amos.
While Amos humbly declined to take credit for the win, teammate Kai Ballungay spoke on his behalf.
“For me, it was this guy’s (Amos) shooting,” said Ballungay, attributing the shift in momentum to Amos. “He stepped up at the right time. We knew he had it in him.”
“I think that really changed the momentum.”
When asked last Saturday about Amos’ disappointing debut, Baldwin didn’t dwell on it and simply mentioned that a rookie could have a rough first game in the league.
This time, Amos repaid the trust placed in him by Baldwin and the team by making crucial shots down the stretch.
“His first game was kind of rough in terms of shooting, but he found his rhythm, and we knew he could do that,” said Ballungay, who also had an outstanding performance with 18 points and 16 rebounds.
“The coaches put him in a position to succeed and do those types of things, and he showed it tonight in the fourth quarter,” he continued.