FRANZ Pumaren would be the first to admit that the Jerrick Ahanmisi who took the court on Saturday wasn't the usual version of his star guard.
"They've been saying a lot about the health of our players and it showed. That's not his 100 percent because he was hospitalized," the five-time champion mentor said on the heels of Adamson's 73-71 defeat to UP in the UAAP Season 81 Final Four.
Ahanmisi was evidently out of his element, wounding up with only nine points on a 2-of-13 shooting from the field, including a 1-of-7 clip from downtown, to go with six rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes of action after missing the FEU game due to fever.
And Pumaren cut his 20-year-old playmaker some slack, knowing how hard he had to try to catch up for the Soaring Falcons' preparations against the Fighting Maroons.
"He started practicing with us, but you cannot force him to. You have to pace him during practice. He doesn't really have the legs at this stage. He just have to get back his rhythm first and it showed," he said.
But despite Ahanmisi still feeling the effects of his illness, he could proudly say that he gave it all, to no avail.
"I think I still got the shots that I wanted. It just didn’t come around," he said as he aims to perform better against the defense UP is throwing at him.
"I just gotta get used to it. They’ll keep playing me like that and I just gotta make sure to listen what coach Franz says and what he teaches me during practice because they’re just going to play physical on me and it’s something that I’m gonna work on my game."
The game is over and done with, and Ahanmisi now turns his attention for Wednesday's all-important game.
"We didn’t wanna lose, but we gotta move on. We have to get ready for Wednesday and make sure that we get the win so we make it to the Finals," he said.
Pumaren also believes that Ahanmisi will be back in tip-top shape come the do-or-die Game Two.
"He can recover by Wednesday," the coach assured the Adamson faithful.