James White refused to describe his return stint as a PBA import as a second chance, opting instead to focus on doing anything he can to help make the Phoenix Fuel Masters contend in the Commissioner’s Cup.
White played just four games for the Mahindra Floodbuster (now-Columbian Dyip) in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup, a far cry from his debut in the 2016 Governors’ Cup when he helped the same franchise secure a breakthrough quarterfinal appearance.
“I guess you can say that but I look at it as a blessing,” the lanky 24-year-old said after a tuneup game Friday that saw Phoenix lose, 97-91, to GlobalPort at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Ortigas.
The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket is one of five imports making a return stint to the country for the midseason conference, joining Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku, Blackwater’s Jarrid Famous, GlobalPort’s Malcolm White and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Shane Edwards.
Edwards is actually a standby import for Ginebra, which is awaiting for Justin Brownlee to complete his duties with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.
White averaged 25.8 points and 14.4 rebounds in 17 games for Mahindra in 2016 and 2017.
Phoenix believes White can be the right fit as it looks to secure a playoff berth in coach Louie Alas’ second conference with the club. The Fuel Masters fell short of making the quarters in the Philippine Cup after being eliminated by TNT KaTropa in a do-or-die match for the final playoff berth.
“I’m just thankful to coach Louie for giving me this opportunity so I have to take advantage of it. I feel that this team that I’m on is something special,” said White.
White believes his workload won’t be as heavy as he had the previous year, with Phoenix having better talents around led by Matthew Wright, RJ Jazul, Jeff Chan, Doug Kramer, Jason Perkins and LA Revilla, his former teammate at Mahindra.
“If coach wants me to be a defensive presence, I’ll do that. If he wants me to get buckets, I can do that as well. I’m willing to do whatever coach wants me to do,” he said. (Jonas Terrado)