MR. Nice Guy no more.
That’s what Phoenix coach Louie Alas is expecting from James White as the Fuel Masters aim to cover significant ground in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Fuel Masters import has been the same respectful, vibrant, and wide-eyed kid who came into the league via Mahindra in his first professional stint out of college two years ago.
Alas doesn’t mind if White stays the same off the court, but he is hoping his ward will be more aggressive as the Fuel Masters’ last line of defense in their midseason tournament campaign that opens on Wednesday against Blackwater at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Napakabait na bata, super coachable, but kailangan ko syempre yung banger, yung talagang magpo-protect ng rim, yun kukuha ng mga rebounds – and that remains to be seen,” Alas said of the 6-foot-8 beanpole.
“Pero yung ginagawa niya sa practice, he’s doing good. I just hope na madadala niya sa game,” he added.
White has been a livewire since his first tour of duty in the PBA in the 2016 Governors’ Cup where he normed 24.7 points on 52.6-percent shooting, 13.3 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, and 1.7 assists to lead the Kia franchise to its first-ever postseason appearance.
Then, the Georgia Tech product upped his averages to 30.5 points on 53.8-percent shooting, 18.5 boards, 2.5 blocks, and one assist in four games in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup before surprisingly getting replaced.
And White is hoping that third time’s charm as far as leading the Fuel Masters to a deeper playoff run.
“It’s a blessing from God. I’m just thankful for this opportunity,” White said. “I’m going to take advantage of this. I feel like this team right now, is more something special.”
“I think with Mahindra, I had the workload on offense, but we have a lot of talent on the offensive end here, so I think my workload is still there, but I have to be more focused on the defense,” he added.