MANILA, Philippines -- Adamson University star Jerrick Ahanmisi has not played up to par in their first two games of the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, and head coach Franz Pumaren let him know it.
Ahanmisi, one of the finest shooters in college basketball who made it to last season's Mythical Five, averaged just 8.5 points in their first two games of the season -- including making just one of his nine three-pointers.
He finally broke out of his slump on Wednesday against University of the East (UE), as he tallied 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting, while making 7 of his 14 attempts from beyond the arc.
According to Pumaren, it was a challenge from him that ignited Ahanmisi.
"He wants to make it to the PBA. I told him the way he's playing I don't think he'll make the next level," said Pumaren. "So, he probably adjusted his game."
Ahanmisi acknowledged that his coach did have something to do with his much-improved performance.
"Yeah, I mean, like Coach Franz said, before we went out to the locker room, he kinda told me to, I had to like step up my game a little because I haven't been playing the way that people usually see me play," said Ahanmisi.
"So, I kinda took it a little personal," he admitted. "A little bit."
"I went out there and I tried to do what I was capable of doing."
The Red Warriors had no answer for Ahanmisi, who pulled up on the break for three-pointers in the first half, then broke down UE's defenses for lay-ups in the second half. He nailed a difficult bucket inside the paint with two minutes to go for an 85-75 Adamson lead, defusing the Red Warriors' last ditch attempt at a comeback.
The Soaring Falcons will need Ahanmisi to be on point again this weekend, when they take on University of the Philippines (UP) in a rematch of last season's Final 4.
Ahanmisi still clearly remembers how UP broke their hearts last year, as an Adamson team with a twice-to-beat advantage succumbed to the Fighting Maroons in a pair of thrilling games.
"I think this is gonna be like, motivation for me," said Ahanmisi. "I think this is gonna be like a fuel of energy for me to go to the game on Sunday, and I'm just gonna help the team be prepared as well."
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