Cramp-stricken James White turns to unusual remedy to finish game for Phoenix
James White poured in eight of his 31 points in the final quarter for Phoenix. Marlo Cueto

JAMES White turned to his own version of “Michael’s Secret Stuff” to relieve cramping/tightness on his hamstring and save the day for Phoenix in its 107-102 win over Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night.  

Forced to head to the bench after feeling some tightness on his hamstring after a layup early in the fourth quarter, the Fuel Masters import was made to drink pickle juice – an unusual remedy that somehow worked and allowed him to come back less than a minute later.

It was like Bugs Bunny coming up with Michael’s Secret Stuff in a bottle that turned out to be just water that pumped the Tune Squad up to make a comeback against the Monstars in the movie Space Jam.  

“It was just a minor cramp, but I'm fine. They gave me some pickle juice, that was a first,” White said. “I never had pickle juice to treat a cramp. Hopefully I don't have any more coming up.”

Rejuvenated by the pickle juice, White came back with a spring in his step as he poured in eight of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, the last two on the putback slam that gave the Fuel Masters the lead for good at 100-98 with a minute and 41 seconds left.

“Hindi ko na talaga gagamitin pero siya mismo yung, ‘Coach, I can play,’” Phoenix coach Louie Alas bared. “Kahit five fouls maaga pa, binalik ko na rin.”

White finished with 31 points on 12-of-18 shooting, 14 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, two steals, and only one turnover in almost 33 minutes in his debut in his third tour of duty in the pro league.

Asked if White’s injury might be aggravated by putting him back in, Alas said he is in a wait-and-see mode.

“Di ko sure pero sabi naman niya sa akin noong bumalik siya, ‘I'm good, coach, I'm good,’” Alas said. “We will see. Kung kailangan hindi ko siya ipraktis ng two days, hindi ko siya ipa-practice.”

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“Baka kulang lang sa saging yun,” he added with a smile. “Bibigyan ko ng mga tatlong buwig na saging bukas tsaka iba naman ang klase ng buto ng made in USA yan eh.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos