To address the need for a pure shooter, Magnolia decided to pick Jerrick Ahanmisi at no. 10 overall in the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft Sunday, a move that left some wondering as they added another guard to an already-loaded backcourt.
“Kailangan namin talaga ng pure shooter dun sa team namin ngayon,” Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero told Tiebreaker Times the day after the draft proceedings, which took place virtually at the TV5 Media Center.
The 2018 Coach of the Year explained that they needed someone who can space the floor, since they now have a bevy of playmakers following the arrival of Calvin Abueva via trade with Phoenix Super LPG last February.
The Fuel Masters dealt the 33-year-old and their no. 10 pick — which the Hotshots used to nab Ahanmisi — to the perennial contenders in exchange for Chris Banchero and the 6th and 18th picks of Sunday’s draft.
“With the arrival of Calvin, dumami ‘yung playmaker namin,” he said.
“We have Jio [Jalalon], we have Mark [Barroca], Ian [Sangalang], Paul [Lee], and now, Calvin. So, we need somebody to spread the floor for our playmakers.”
Victolero, though, admitted that Magnolia initially planned to pick a big man. Still, they knew that those they had in mind might be selected earlier in the first round. So they went to their other option of nabbing Ahanmisi.
Fortunately for them, their plans weren’t spoiled. The Hotshots got themselves a 6-foot-1 deadshot, who played for four years with Adamson University in the UAAP and earned Mythical Five honors in Season 81.
“Inisip namin, there’s a 50-50 chance na makuha namin ‘yung mga gusto naming big man,” said Victolero. “I felt na sa pinagpipilian namin mga ilang big, eh babagsak doon sa early picks ng mga ilang teams. ‘Yun nga nangyari.
“So, we arrived doon sa isang option namin to get Jerrick Ahanmisi. And ‘yun nga, I’m very happy and excited kasi hindi siya nakuha roon sa early picks.”
Victolero can’t wait to work with the 23-year-old.
“I called him last night. Cinongratulate ko. Meron siyang schedule ngayon ng swab, and hopefully makuha namin tomorrow morning ‘yung kanyang result. And then makakasama na namin siya bukas sa practice,” he said.
After Ahanmisi, the Hotshots took former University of the East forward RR De Leon in the third round,before using their 42nd pick to draft guard Andoy Estrella, a product of Mapua University.
Victolero said that they utilized their remaining draft picks as possible roster fillers since they only have 11 in the lineup so far. The team is still waiting on the decision of veteran Marc Pingris for the next season.
But then again, a selection doesn’t guarantee anything.
“‘Yung dalawang pinick namin, si De Leon tsaka si Estrella, they have a chance,” said the cager-turned-tactician.
“But of course, kailangan namin sila makita kung babagay ba sa sistema namin.”