MANILA, Philippines -- After losing Kevin Racal to a knee injury, the Alaska Aces received some good news on Thursday with the arrival of veteran guard Maverick Ahanmisi to the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Ahanmisi is the last player to make it inside the bubble. He underwent a swab test on Thursday morning, and will have to isolate for two days before joining the Alaska practices at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City. Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso expects him to practice for the first time on Sunday.
For the coach, having Ahanmisi back is crucial for an Alaska team that lost Racal for the rest of the season due to an ACL tear that he suffered in their first game of the PBA Philippine Cup last Friday.
"Just the extra big guard who also defends, who can also get the ball down," Cariaso said of what they're getting by having Ahanmisi with them. "Maverick played Division 1, so he's a warrior, he's a fighter, he won't back down from anyone. It's something that we need."
The Aces acquired Ahanmisi from Rain or Shine last August, and he averaged 8.00 points, 4.33 assists, and 1.67 rebounds for them in the Governors' Cup.
But Ahanmisi was more productive during the All-Filipino conference last year for Rain or Shine, putting up 12.09 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.82 assists per game.
"He's a guy that's gonna come in, and also he's a veteran. So, he knows what it takes," said Cariaso.
"Now, it's really just the challenge for him is the timing, the rhythm. But we're hoping he can come in and give us a lift, alongside the guys we're expecting to step up in the absence of Kevin," he added.
Alaska currently has a 0-2 record in the Philippine Cup after losses to TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco.