HIS jersey number may have changed, but James White’s game stayed the same for Mahindra in his second tour of duty for the team, this time in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
From No. 33 in the last Governors’ Cup where he led the team to its first postseason appearance in its young history, the Floodbuster import wore the No. 1 in the team’s 94-86 loss to Meralco on opening day of the midseason tournament in favor of injured rookie Russel Escoto.
“I think one of the players was wearing thirty-three right now and I didn't want to butt any heads,” White said after the game. “It's alright though, no big thing.”
The 23-year-old American cager, though, remained his energetic self and appeared to honor his former jersey number by tallying 33 points on top of 16 boards, four blocks, and one steal in a losing effort.
“Even though we got a loss, we took a lot from it,” White said. “We understand what we got to do on the next game on Sunday. It was a lesson learned, we're not having our heads down, it's a long season, so just got to stay positive.”
After bannering an Enforcer side that still featured Nino Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos, Paolo Taha, and Keith Agovida in the Governors’ Cup, White joined a rejigged lineup now led by Alex Mallari.
But he’s not complaining.
“That's part of the business of basketball,” White said. “But the team that we have, they welcomed me with open arms, we had a team building, I had to know the guys even more. It's a new family but we're brothers, it's going to be good things that will come from this season.”
White just has to increase his output for the Floodbuster to stay competitive.
“More in just me doing the right thing and helping the team win,” the Georgia Tech product said. “That's what the team needs me to do, I'll do that. If the team needs me to be a defensive player, an energy guy, I'll do all those things.”
“But for me, it's just possession by possession, whatever the defense gives me, whatever coach draws up that's what I'm gonna do,” he added.