Ginebra makes PBA Commissioner’s Cup debut with slightly different look
Maverick Ahanmisi made it simple when he explained his decision to join a loaded Barangay Ginebra roster that became deeper with the addition of last season’s Most Improved Player.
“Who doesn’t want to play for a team that is already tasked?” Ahanmisi said as he begins his stint with the league’s most popular team, interestingly against his ex-team Converge on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup.
How Ahanmisi will make himself a key cog for coach Tim Cone is one of the things to watch in the 8 p.m. match at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Cone, Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar resume their club commitments after Gilas Pilipinas’ historic run to the gold in the Hangzhou Asian Games (Asiad), so is the national team’s assistant LA Tenorio, who is expected to return this conference—if not in this game—after dealing with colon cancer for the past few months.
Life without Brownlee
The obvious difference is the absence of Justin Brownlee, who is still awaiting word on his punishment after Ginebra’s long-time reinforcement and Gilas naturalized player who failed a doping test during the Asiad.
His temporary replacement, former Meralco import Tony Bishop, will have a huge void to fill, though Cone has expressed confidence in his capabilities to be that guy for the Gin Kings.
Ahanmisi signed an unrestricted free agent deal with Ginebra following what was the best season of his PBA career with Converge.
His ability to shoot and play defense is something that can serve as another option, with Thompson known for his all-around play, Stanley Pringle being a prominent slasher and Nards Pinto as a stingy defender.
“I’m just here to help an already good team, really. Whatever I can do—rebounds, assists, leadership, every facet of the game,” said the 32-year-old, who has also played for Rain or Shine and Alaska in a career that started in 2015.
Converge is hungry for a first win after losing its first two assignments to Blackwater and TNT, the latter ending in a sorry overtime loss last Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Ginebra’s season-opener will also serve as a prelude to Sunday’s big showdown with rival Magnolia, which faces NorthPort at 4 p.m. in a battle of teams that won their first two games.
Magnolia downed TNT and Phoenix to open its quest for a first title since the 2018 Governors’ Cup with import Tyler Bey leading the way.