SMART CLARK GIGA CITY — Maverick Ahanmisi was reduced to a spectator with over a minute left in Alaska’s 2020 PBA Philippine Cup match versus NLEX Road Warriors on Monday, as he incurred his sixth and last foul.
The Aces still managed to pull through with the 122-119 victory. But the 6-foot-2 combo guard from California was a clear factor in the triumph, which assures them of a quarterfinals trip.
Ahanmisi played his best game yet this conference, finishing with 25 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter alone. He also picked up 12 rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the 34 minutes and 16 seconds he played.
And it left Aces head coach Jeff Cariaso impressed with the 29-year-old’s performance. Ahanmisi even arrived late to the bubble, with averages of just 4.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists prior to Monday.
“We can use him in a variety of ways, and what I like about him is just his toughness on defense.
“I feel like I can put him in a 1, 2, or 3, and to have a luxury with a guy like that is really special, and we’re glad that this is kind of his breakout game. So we’re happy that he performed well, and he came at the right time,” said the seasoned bench tactician.
“Mav, you know how special he is, and what capabilities he has. What’s nice about Mav is he has many different skills that we appreciate, and we knew that we could use on our team,” he continued.
Despite his excellent outing, though, Ahanmisi deflected the credit to the coaches and to his fellow Milkmen. He preferred to praise everyone for chipping in and coming up with the win to cap off their elimination round stint.
“I owe it all to my coaches and my teammates, really. They’re just telling me to stay aggressive,” he said.
“It just shows our team chemistry and our character coming in. Everybody contributed and everybody did their part tonight.”
For Ahanmisi, the main motivation for the rest of Alaska was the fact that they could vie for a top four spot and a twice-to-beat advantage for the quarterfinals against the Road Warriors, who had a three-game winning streak prior.
“We knew how big this game was, and for us to be in contention for the top four, we knew we needed to win this game, especially against a tough NLEX team. They’ve been playing well. We just wanted to come out and give our all.”