Just keeps getting better every day.
That’s the only way to describe how Alaska’s Maverick Ahanmisi has been playing in the 2020 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
Ahanmisi is one of the biggest reasons why the Aces are in the Quarterfinals of this conference. He just improves over time with his best game coming when the Aces beat the NLEX Road Warriors to formally advance to the playoffs.
He finished with a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds to go with 4 assists and 3 steals to win Player of the Game honors. And in all humility, he was quick to point to his teammates for helping him do so well.
“Man, I owe it all to my coaches and my teammates. They just told me to stay aggressive. Like I said, it shows our team chemistry, character. Coming in, everybody contributed and did their part tonight,” said Ahanmisi.
The Alaska guard has been in the league for over five years. He was drafted 3rd overall during the 2015 PBA Draft by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. But he has been playing the best ever in the PBA since he joined the Aces last year.
Ahanmisi was quick to establish rapport with his Alaska teammates and has earned the trust of Alaska Head Coach Jeff Cariaso who coincidentally played much like Ahanmisi did during his stellar PBA career.
Cariaso was an athletic two-way player just like Ahanmisi. On offense he could slash inside and finish at the hoop or drill shoots from the outside. He was equally effective at the defensive end shadowing opposing players with dogged tenacity.
Most striking is that Cariaso, like Ahanmisi, is clutch and performs his best late in games when the result is on the line. The Alaska mentor is appreciative of Ahanmisi’s contributions.
“Mav, you know how special he is. And the capabilities that he has. What’s nice about Mav is that he has many different skills that we appreciate and that we knew that we could use on our team of course,” said Cariaso.
“You know we could use him in a variety of ways. And what I like about him is his toughness on defense. I feel that I could put him on a 1, 2 or 3. And to have that, to have the luxury of having a guy like that, it’s really special.”
Ahanmisi and the Aces are in the Quarterfinals facing off against powerhouse TNT Tropang Giga.
How far the Aces can go this conference will depend a lot on how much Ahanmisi continues to improve his game.