Maverick Ahanmisi unfazed in battling another crowd favorite in either SMB or Star in semis
Maverick Ahanmisi had his best game of the Commissioner's Cup as he helped Rain or Shine eliminate Ginebra. Jerome Ascano

FROM one popular ballclub to another.

After taking care of Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Rain or Shine rookie Maverick Ahanmisi is looking forward to facing another crowd favorite come the next round of the playoffs.

The Elasto Painters are set to battle the winner of the San Miguel Beermen-Star Hotshots knockout game in the best-of-five semis, which starts Sunday.

The Hotshots and Beermen are acknowledged as two of the teams enjoying a wide fan following next to Ginebra.

But Ahanmisi is unfazed regardless of who they face, saying the Elasto Painters will be more than ready to meet the challenge just like they did in completing a two-game sweep of the no. 4 seed Ginebra in the opening round of the playoffs.

“It doesn’t matter. We’re ready for either team. We’re just glad to be in the semis now and obviously coach Yeng will help get us ready for whatever team we’ll play next,” said Ahanmisi, who played his best game of the mid-season tournament on Tuesday when Rain or Shine finally slammed the door on Ginebra, 102-89, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The no. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft finished with 13 points – all in the second half – as he more than held his own against Ginebra’s backcourt rotation of LA Tenorio, fellow rookie Scottie Thompson, and veteran Mark Caguioa.

Ahanmisi shot 5 of 11 from the field with four rebounds and four assists.

And for someone who has played in the U.S. NCAA Division I, the 24-year-old Fil-Nigerian said he’s hardly intimidated by the huge crowd cheering for Ginebra or either San Miguel and Star.

“I’m used to this kind of crowd that’s even bigger. I think that help me kind of flourish in this situation,” said the University of Minnesota stalwart. “And the experience in the States help me pretend like the crowd is not even there.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos