Mahindra’s James White may be the youngest import in the PBA Governors Cup, but his debut game on Friday showed a level of maturity that’s normally seen on veteran reinforcements.
Ranged against former PBA Best Import Marqus Blakely, the 22-year-old White showed nerves of steel, hitting key baskets in regulation play and hustling on the defensive end to help the Enforcer shock the Star Hotshots, 100-92 on Friday night’s opening day.
“Well, all the adversities I went through in college and from previous years, just having that confidence on yourself, it carries over to a lot of people and it’s contagious,” White said as he capped his PBA debut with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block.
“So no matter, I told coach that I got your back and they got our backs covered.”
The 6-foot-8 White said Mahindra playing coach and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gave him “words of wisdom” during their recent chat in practice.
“I’ve seen him in practice one time at Mahindra and he gave me words of wisdom, that no matter what you face and the adversity, you just gonna overcome it and you gotta just keep working no matter what,” shared the former Georgia Tech standout.
The athletic Mahindra import, who arrived in Manila over a month ago, worked religiously in the gym and got a few conditioning tips as well from the “Pac-Man”.
“I look at that (learning from Pacquiao) as a blessing. You know, one of the best boxers at the game, I look at how he can help me condition-wise with the little tips and how (to help) my health up, so I think it’s a blessing from God,” he added.
The victory rewarded Mahindra lead assistant Chris Gavina his first victory as he coached the team in the absence of Pacquiao.