Two years ago, the Ahanmisi family name was a complete mystery to Philippine basketball fans.
But with one of them shaping up to be a formidable force in the PBA on his sophomore year, and the younger one making a splash in his UAAP debut season, it’s hard to miss the promising success of a once-unknown Fil-Nigerian baller bloodline.
It all started with Rain or Shine spitfire Maverick, who was a surprise third overall pick in the 2015 PBA Rookie Draft, but proved his worth as a reliable backcourt man for former Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao.
In his first season, Maverick was already a PBA champion, an All-Rookie team member and an All-Star Obstacle Challenge title-holder.
The kuya’s success seemingly set up the stage for Jerrick, a touted shooter who played high school ball in the United States.
But the younger Ahanmisi was reportedly passed on by three other UAAP teams, eventually landing a spot in the team of newly-installed head coach Franz Pumaren.
In his first UAAP game, Jerrick was a revelation, setting a record for most points scored by a rookie in his collegiate debut with 28 in an impressive win over UP.
Apparently, he was just warming up.
Ahanmisi continued to win fans with his deadeye shooting and efficient shot selection, leading the Falcons in scoring multiple times and providing Pumaren with a go-to option in the clutch.
After 14 elimination-round games, Ahanmisi has averaged 13.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists — making him the favorite for the Rookie of the Year race.
“It’s big for him to be a rookie at Adamson, jumping up a lot of steps from where they were in the past years, for them in the Final Four this year,” said the PBA guard.
But now on a bigger stage, Maverick believes it’s high time for Jerrick to cast his own shadow and cement himself among Adamson’s greatest.
“I’ve always been saying, I’ve always watched their practice, how hard they work with Coach Franz, I knew that they are gonna be a tough team from the beginning,” he added. “Even though no one believed them, I knew they will be there, I knew they were gonna shock people. They’ve been doing it all year.”