After showing he can be top gun, Maverick says he’s just trying to fill Ginebra needs
Maverick Ahanmisi hardly looked like a newcomer in the first three games with his new club Barangay Ginebra, putting up one solid performance after another in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The crafty guard, picked up by the Gin Kings during the offseason, has emerged as the crowd darlings’ third-finest scorer in the tournament, putting up 16.3 points per game—and pairing that with strong defensive numbers of three steals and two blocks a night.
Ahanmisi, however, said a big chunk of his production comes from having high-quality teammates.
“[T[hey make it super easy. They draw so much attention in the game,” Ahanmisi said last Friday, when he came close to a triple-double after collecting 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 107-102 victory over pesky Rain or Shine.
And beyond that, Ahanmisi said having the likes of Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger has forced him to level up.
“It’s tough coming into a team that has multiple [kinds of] Most Valuable Players. You want to play to their level,” he said.
“When I’m left open, all I got to do is make the shot whenever they find me,” he said. “Just a blessing I’m this kind of team with several high-IQ players so things are easier for me.”
There have been several cautionary tales for talented players who have found their way into stacked teams. Chances are they would see their numbers dip significantly. Worse, they ride the bench and hardly become the impact player they once were with their previous club.
Ahanmisi never worried about that.
“I came into this team with it already being such a great team. They’re defending the title so I just wanted to fit in as I could. And from what I saw, three-point shooting was missing and that’s where I felt like I could help the team so I think it was a perfect fit,” he added.
Ahanmisi was 5-for-9 in a narrow loss to fierce rival Magnolia earlier, and was 5-for-7 against Rain or Shine—his triples were easily the biggest reasons why Ginebra dodged a loss to the winless Painters, the very team that drafted him and gave him his lone PBA title seven years ago.
Playing with a powerhouse has given Ahanmisi flashbacks of that 2016 Commissioner’s Cup championship with Rain or Shine. But he is also the first to say that it’s too soon to be connecting the dots.
“It’s three games in,” he said. “But obviously, you play for Ginebra—that’s the end goal. That’s always been on my mind, but it’s also still so early into the season.”
“Hopefully, we get to that point but right now, we’re just taking it a game at a time.”