After their Filoil win against the defending NCAA champions Letran Knights, Adamson Soaring Falcons Head Coach Franz Pumaren was all praises for Jerrick Ahanmisi. Ahanmisi torched the Knights as he scored 17 points in the first half and continued his scorching form in the second half before being taken out of the game when he tweaked his ankle but still finished with 26 points on a 5-of-7 shooting clip from beyond the arc along with five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
So much so that the storied coach compared him to arguably one of the best shooters the UAAP has ever seen.
“With Renren (Ritualo) part of my coaching staff, I think he can become the second coming of Renren.” said Pumaren.
Ritualo, who played for Pumaren for the De La Salle Green Archers in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, was a legend in the UAAP as he secured a four-peat championship with Pumaren. He was famous for his lethal three point shot– especially in the clutch– and was even rumored to be scouted by NBA teams such as the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
“The kid can really shoot, he has range and what more if he starts to build up his resistance and his stamina. I think he can become a good player come UAAP.” beamed Pumaren of Ahanmisi.
“I think I can beat him in a shootout. I heard he’s a great shooter but I think I can beat him.” a smiling Ahanmisi teased of Ritualo.
“I should thank other schools for not giving him a second look. They were saying that he’s still only a potential; promising but not yet developed. But there are factors that I see in him.” said Pumaren of one of his very first recruits in Adamson.
The 18-year-old Ahanmisi from Burbank, California, had been part of a recruiting process that saw him choose Adamson over other UAAP schools La Salle and National University.
Pumaren also went to as far as comparing Ahanmisi to his brother Maverick, a rookie for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA. The elder Ahanmisi recently impressed in the just concluded Commissioner’s Cup championship series– but so has his younger brother.
“Even at this stage, offensively– scoring-wise, range-wise, shooting-wise, I think he has an advantage. They’re two different types of players.” said Pumaren.
Adjusting to the Philippines
Pumaren also bared that the younger Ahanmisi who is fresh out of Village Christian High School in California is now slowly developing to the Philippine style of play.
“He’s slowly adjusting to college basketball. I’ve been telling him, you won’t be playing against 17-18 year old boys, you’ll be playing against men which is good.”
Ahanmisi has also been more assertive on offense, resulting to a constantly increasing scoring total from their previous games. In Adamson’s Filoil Preseason tournament, Ahanmisi has upped his scoring from five points in the first game, to eight in the second, to 13 points in the third and then finally to 26 points.
“He’s no longer passive.” Pumaren added. “He played with alot of aggressiveness which is what we’re looking for in him.”
It’s a statement that Ahanmisi echoes: “He’s been pressuring me really hard because the UAAP is really aggressive,” Ahanmisi said. “He just tells me to be more aggressive.”
Another area of adjustment Pumaren says Ahanmisi should work on is his body: “He just has to develop his body because he’s still young.”
“I’ve talked to his brother Maverick and I’d tell Maverick: ‘Probably you’ve been eating all the steak that’s why look at the body of your brother'” joked Pumaren.
A marked man
“The only down side with Jerrick playing this well is people would start recognizing him and he’s going to be a marked man.” Pumaren said.
The younger Ahanmisi, though, assured more stuff to see from him when asked about his recent explosion.
“I would say it’s one of the best (games I’ve had).”
“But there’s more to come, it’s just beginning,” a smiling Jerrick Ahanmisi said.