Maverick Ahanmisi is providing the spark as Converge rolls to three straight victories in the early stretch of the Governors’ Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.
One of the remaining holdovers from the defunct Alaska franchise, Ahanmisi was able to quickly adapt to the system of FiberXers coach Aldin Ayo.
In three games this conference, the former University of Minnesota standout emerged as the top local scorer, averaging 22.3 points on a steady 54.8 percent shooting from the field on top of 6.7 rebounds, four assists and a steal.
He powered the FiberXers to the solo lead in the standings with a 3-0 mark in which they averaged 121 points while beating their foes by a winning margin of 15.6 points per game.
In their previous game against Magnolia, Ahanmisi waxed hot, finishing with 22 points to lead the FiberXers to a 111-109 win, a game that was marred by controversy when Hotshots assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos was caught flashing a dirty finger at Converge import Jamaal Franklin.
The league slapped Abarrientos with a P10,000 fine for the offense.
Converge governor Atty. Chito Salud told Daily Tribune that they are looking at no less than a semifinal stint this time.
In the previous Commissioner’s Cup, the FiberXers were in deep hunt for a twice-to-beat edge until the incident involving import Quincy Miller happened during the latter stretch of the elimination round when he arrived late for practice.
Converge management and coaching staff decided to bench Miller during their elimination round game against NorthPort which ruined their chances of securing a potential twice-to-beat and saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.
The FiberXers settled for a quarterfinal finish as they were ushered to the exit door by a powerful San Miguel Beer squad.
This time, Converge is locked in with Ahanmisi leading the way.
“Much of the credit on my productive season should be given to coach Aldin Ayo,” Ahanmisi told Daily Tribune in a telephone interview.
“He had given me leeway. He knows when is the time for me to rest and get some rehab instead of fully participating in practices, which is why I was able to come out fully recharged.”
Now in his eighth year in the PBA, Ahanmisi has been a part of different playoff journeys.
Several times, he had been in the playoffs, including a championship with Rain or Shine in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup, the only title he had so far.
He was also part of Alaska’s several playoff appearances, and now that he’s with Converge, he believes the newest kids on the block are headed in the right direction.
“I’ve been in the league for quite some time now and have experienced what it feels to be in the playoffs and see when a team can be considered as a contender. We cannot tell this early if we’re in that category now, but we’re headed in the right direction,” Ahanmisi said.