MAVERICK Ahanmisi admits feeling a bit anxious going into his first meeting with former coach Yeng Guiao in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday night.
The Fil-Nigerian guard acknowledged he owes everything what he had achieved so far in his young pro career to the veteran mentor, including winning his first league championship right in his rookie season.
“Without him, who knows where I'm gonna be. He gave me a chance and I’m just thankful to him,” said Ahanmisi on the eve of the NLEX-Rain or Shine match-up at the PhilSports Arena.
The 25-year-old Ahanmisi was the Elasto Painters’ No. 3 overall pick in last year’s rookie draft. Guiao disclosed he was actually leaning toward Scottie Thompson more than him, but was prevailed upon by the recommendation of his coaching staff led by Caloy Garcia, now the head coach of the team.
But the product of University of Minnesota doesn’t take it personally against the veteran mentor, who he still credited for giving him the break.
“It’s definitely tough because he’s the coach who picked me coming to the PBA,” he said. “Still, I hope to wish him the best.”
After more than five years, Guiao parted ways with Rain or Shine during the offseason to take the vacant coaching post at NLEX, leaving Ahanmisi just a year of playing under the multi-titled coach.
Now that they no longer belong to the same team, the sophomore guard said he’ll relish the opportunity going up for the first time against Guiao in the 7 p.m. main game of the December 23 doubleheader.
“It’s gonna be tough because I know how coach Yeng operates. But it’s going to be fun and I’m definitely looking forward to it,” he said.