MANILA, Philippines -- Still only 18 years old, Mason Amos of the Ateneo de Manila University has a legitimate chance of making the national team's final 12-man roster for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
This, according to Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Tim Cone who raved at the talent of the Filipino-Australian prospect in an appearance on "Power and Play," Saturday morning.
"He is extremely interesting. I mean, he is a big guy who is an absolute, absolute lights-out shooter," Cone told former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. "He can shoot it from anywhere at any time. He's like an Allan Caidic at 6-8, you know, and big bodied."
Amos is the jewel of Tab Baldwin's latest recruiting class for Ateneo, and expectations have soared for the teenager since his superb performance for the Gilas Pilipinas Youth squad in the FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship in Iran last year. There, he averaged 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in six games for the country.
The 6-foot-7 Amos was included in the 24-man training pool for the sixth window of the qualifiers, along with a host of professional and collegiate standouts as well as naturalized players Ange Kouame and Justin Brownlee.
Though he is the youngest member of the pool, Amos has already impressed Cone with his work in training.
"He's only 18 years old, which blew me away when I found out he was 18. I didn't know it the first couple of practices. I thought he was like a 25-year-old, the way he was playing," the Barangay Ginebra coach admitted.
"But the kid is really skilled," he added. "He really, really has a shot at making the Final 12 because of the skill that he can bring in, and the versatility."
Cone believes that Amos' ability to bring the ball down and stretch the floor makes him a good fit next to Brownlee, who is widely expected to make his debut as a naturalized Filipino in the sixth window. The multi-titled mentor compares the Fil-Aussie teenager to Joe Devance, who won a handful of PBA titles with Brownlee in Ginebra.
"You can almost play him almost like a little bit of a Joe Devance," said Cone. "As a big man shooter, you can play Mason with Justin, and a big, or you can play him at the four. There's a lot of different possibilities with him."
Amos, for his part, says he is focusing his energies on learning as much as he can from the Gilas veterans. The teenager says it is a privilege to train with the likes of Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and other PBA stars; already, he has gotten a taste of what it is like to defend the famed Ginebra import.
"It's not very often where someone my age gets an opportunity like this, to be in the Gilas pool. So in my opinion, it's the biggest blessing that's happened to me," said Amos. "Being able to train with PBA players that you've watched when you're growing up — there's nothing like it."
"It's helping me develop my game; I'm learning a lot from the older players too. And, being around good coaches and good players makes me better, so it's really a big push."
Gilas will play host Lebanon on February 24 and Jordan on February 27 in the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Both games will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.