EDITOR’S NOTE: I was really impressed with Aljo’s first article so I contacted him to do write another article. After some back and forth discussing his preferred writing style and working on some pegs, he requested to write a feature on a UAAP player. Aljo is comfortable writing both feature and analytical pieces. He blends both writing styles in his latest article about Jerrick Ahanmisi.
Jerrick Ahanmisi is ‘The One That Got Away’
Written by Aljo Dolores
Lea was the one that got away. And she never knew.
Talks about The One That Got Away made rounds on Twitter, thanks to Aga Muhlach’s heartbreaking letter for Lea Salonga:
That opening sentence made Twitter explode. It’s a heart-ripping, soul-crushing, eleven-word statement that sums up how hard it is to let go of someone, only to find out that person is the one.
Tales of letting go of someone only to find out how great they are afterwards are common. It’s not even exclusive to love stories. In fact, the UAAP is littered with TOTGA stories.
Trying out for the great collegiate basketball programs in the country is one big battle royale. In this cutthroat league, overlooking a talent is always a possibility. Some players will eventually be left without a spot in any roster. A player as legendary in the UAAP as Mac Cardona was cut by a team once upon a time but eventually found his place in La Salle.
For some players, one cut isn’t enough. One rejection might mean you are good, but not good enough for the team’s current system. You just need to find a team where you can fit in. Two rejections will hurt, but you can still give it another shot. But three rejections? You might start to question whether you even belong in the league.
Believe it or not, it was exactly how Jerrick Ahanmisi’s basketball journey in the Philippines started.
He tried out with Ateneo, La Salle and NU, only to be left out on their respective rosters. It might even be easy to justify why Jerrick did not make the cut on these big teams. He was a raw overseas talent who wanted to try his luck in the Philippines. His UAAP career was almost over before it even began.
But just like in the cheesy Filipino soap operas, there is always a time to meet The One.
When it was time for Jerrick to try his luck in Adamson, Coach Franz Pumaren saw something in him. It was good enough for the champion coach to give the young cager a second look—something that he did not get with his first three tries. Coach Pumaren saw the younger Ahanmisi’s potential and gave him a place with the young Soaring Falcons.
Jerrick did not disappoint.
Right out of the gates, he showcased his ability. He scored 28 points, including six triples, in his debut game against UP. It took him one UAAP game to turn heads. In that one game, he turned himself from a discard to Adamson’s prized rookie and a real threat in the UAAP.
Jerrick wasn’t just a one-game star. He carried the momentum from that game into the rest of the season.
He finished seventh in the league in scoring (13.4), and 20th in assists (1.9). He garnered 44.5 statistical points, which made him the top rookie of Season 79. He should have been the runaway Rookie of the Year if not for a technicality that barred him from receiving the award.
What’s even more amazing is his scoring efficiency. Among all the players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game, Ahanmisi was third in effective field goal percentage (61.4), and second in true shooting percentage (56.2). He was first in free throw percentage among players who had at least one attempt per game (94.3), and made two triples per game at a 38% clip. He was an all-around offensive threat in a Pumaren system that was able to maximize his abilities.
Jerrick had a solid rookie season. But there’s still room to grow. Despite playing 30.2 minutes per game, Ahanmisi only had 19.0% usage rate, which was the least among the top three Falcons in terms of minutes played (Sarr had 24.0%, Manalang had 21.7%). Moreover, his rate was the lowest among players who averaged at least 30 minutes per outing.
This is an indication that Coach Franz is pushing the right buttons and taking his time to fully develop Jerrick into an offensive star.
This upcoming season, we could expect an increase in his role on offense. Yes, he thrived on a system where he wasn’t the sole focal point of the offense. But with his skillset, it’s only a matter of time until Jerrick takes over Adamson’s offense.
Jerrick and Adamson are made for each other. Ateneo, La Salle and NU are all in good positions to make a run for the championship in Season 80. But imagine if they had Jerrick on their roster.
Jerrick is the one that got away. Now the whole UAAP knows.
Photos from SLAM PH
Stats from Humblebola