Hello, UAAP! Red-hot Jerrick Ahanmisi sets rookie record for most points in debut

Jerrick Ahanmisi chose the perfect way to introduce himself to Philippine basketball. 

The brother of Rain or Shine guard, Maverick, exploded for 28 points as Adamson waylaid hard-fighting UP, 104-85, in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament Sunday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ahanmisi, one of coach Franz Pumaren’s prized recruits, sank 6 of 7 attempts from 3-point range while making all 4 of his shots within the arc to set the record for the most points by a rookie in his UAAP debut.

He fell 7 points shy of the UAAP record by the most points by a rookie held by Jeron Teng, who had 35 in a gripping duel with Ray Parks and NU on August 18, 2012.

“It was an exciting performance from me,” said the Filipino-American, who added 6 rebounds, an assist and a steal to his stat-line. “(Before the game), I was a little bit nervous, but I was also very excited.”

Pumaren added he has always trusted in the abilities of Ahanmisi and Robbie Manalang, who had 16 points and 9 assists of his own.

“I’m confident. I think they’re smart enough to help us,” he explained. “We’re just lucky to be able to recruit him.”

The downside, Pumaren noted, was that teams will now also focus their scouting on his young guard duo, allowing opponents to adjust their defenses on Ahanmisi and Manalang.

Nonetheless, the California native said he is working on his game as he strives to be better as the competition goes on.

“I’ve been learning from my coaches for the past 9 months,” he stressed. “Ever since I got here, I’ve been trying to polish my game.”