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Fil-Am guards look to follow in Alapag’s footsteps

Fil-Am guard Maverick Ahanmisi of Cafe France participates in the PBA Draft Combine. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American guards Simon Enciso and Maverick Ahanmisi are drawing inspiration from Jimmy Alapag as they both hope to follow the footsteps of the “Mighty Mouse” and enter the PBA.

Enciso and Ahanmisi are two of the Filipino-foreign players who have entered the PBA Rookie Draft after plying their trade in the PBA D-League.

Ahanmisi, a 6-foot-2 guard who played for the University of Minnesota, admitted that he hopes to be picked by the Meralco Bolts on Sunday’s Draft, partly because of the presence of Coach Norman Black, but also because of Alapag.

“My family knows (Black), they’ve watched him play when he was here, and I could just see by his coaching style, I’d like to fit into that kind of style of play,” Ahanmisi told reporters during Monday’s PBA Rookie Draft Suite presented by SLAM Magazine and Under Armour.

Ahamisi believes having Alapag as a teammate can only mean good things for him. The “Mighty Mouse” came out of retirement in the offseason and was subsequently traded to Meralco.

“That’s definitely a big thing. I’ve watched him play for Gilas, and knowing he’s from the States, an knowing he can help me a lot with the transition from the D-League to the PBA game,” said Ahanmisi.

Ahanmisi had a solid stint for the Café France Bakers in the D-League, even helping them win the Foundation Cup in 2015.

Enciso, another Fil-Am guard who hails from California, also looks up to Alapag, who has won six championships and was the 2011 PBA Most Valuable Player.

Fil-Am guard Simon Enciso of Cebuana participates in the PBA Draft Combine. PBA Images.

“You dream of what he accomplished as a Fil-Am,” Enciso said. “Just to come down here, and play in the PBA, and be as big as he is.”

Enciso has worked out for Talk ‘N Text, Alaska and Ginebra, but much like Ahanmisi, he believes he will be a good fit for the Bolts.

“I know they just got Jimmy,” he said, “But I would love to play behind Jimmy and learn the reigns.”

“That would be a good fit for me – just to learn from him, one of the best Fil-Am point guards to ever play in the PBA,” he added.

Aside from Alapag, Enciso said he has also received good advice from other Fil-Am players like Jeff Cariaso, Josh Urbiztondo and Sol Mercado.

“Everybody in that brotherhood, they’re always putting their two cents in about working hard and getting your degree before you come out here,” said Enciso.

Enciso played Division 2 basketball for Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, California.

Ahanmisi and Enciso both participated in the PBA Draft Combine on Wednesday and impressed the league’s assistant coaches with their performances in the agility drills.

The PBA Rookie Draft is set for Sunday, August 23, at Robinsons Place Manila.


Source: ABS-CBN News

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