Young Mahindra import James White plays with maturity, gives rookie coach Gavina 'MJ moment'
Import James White to new Mahindra deputy coach James Gavina: 'I’m not going to let you lose your first game.'

JAMES White may look as young as a teenager, but he definitely plays like a grown man.

The 22-year-old Mahindra import proved it by playing with maturity beyond his years in leading the team to a 100-92 overtime win over Star in their opening game in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night.

Playing in his first-ever pro game, White, who’s the youngest among the main reinforcements as he turns 23 on July 26, showed he belongs as he registered 22 points, eight boards, and one block in 36 minutes as he always seemed to be at the right place and at the right time.

“Basketball is just a game and no matter what the age is, anybody can play,” White said. “It’s just the hard work I’ve put in the summer, it’s carrying over right now.”

“And just the coaches are putting me in the right situations and my teammates so credit to them,” the Georgia Tech product added.

But White embraced the moment down the stretch so much that he promised rookie coach Chris Gavina a win in his debut.

“James has such a tremendous heart,” Gavina said. “He kind of gave me the Michael Jordan moment with Doug Collins where he said, ‘coach, I’m not going to let you lose your first game.’”

“And I gave him great credit and he brought it home today,” he added. “Everybody did.”

White, undrafted in this year’s NBA Draft, definitely walked the talk.

“Just the fact that all the adversity I went through from previous years, just having confidence in yourself, it carries over to a lot of people,” he said. “It’s contagious, so I just wanted to let coach know that no matter what, I got your back and our team got your back.”

“For a leader for my age, it just shows from the hard work after practice, before practice and my results in the game, I think my teammates will notice that, just working hard off the court and on the court,” he added.

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