PBA: Phoenix pins hopes on returning import James White

Published April 4, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

by Waylon Galvez

James White (PBA Images)
James White (PBA Images)
Phoenix Fuel team manager Paolo Bugia is very much confident that having import James White here early will benefit the Fuel Masters when they start their campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

White, whose previous PBA stint was with the Kia franchise, has started training with Phoenix Fuel since the third week of March. According to Bugia, the 6-foot-8 import has blended in well with the locals.

“That’s the reason why we brought him early. Tutal after naming ma-out sa Philippine Cup, nag-start naman din kami agad mag-training, so we decided to bring him in,” said Bugia.

White first played in the PBA in 2016 as he helped Kia make the quarterfinal playoffs. He rejoined the team last season but after four games, the team let go of him in favor of Keith Wright.

In the four games the high-leaping White played for Kia during mid-season Commissioner’s Cup last season, the former Georgia Tech stalwart averaged 30.5 points and 18.5 rebounds.

Bugia said they are hoping that White brings the same level of intensity he showed with Kia to Phoenix. The Fuel Masters are aching to make another run at the playoffs after failing to do so in the Philippine Cup.

“Maganda naman yung attitude niya e, yun ang unang nakita ni coach Louie sa kanya. Maski na nag-laro siya for Kia and coach Louie was with his former team (Alaska), nakita niya na maganda yung character ni White,” said Bugia.

“Of course, with the local talent we have, we’re very optimistic na magiging maganda yung campaign naming. We’re aiming for a quarterfinal playoff berth in the Commissioner’s Cup,” he added.

Last season, the team made it to the quarterfinal stage with import Jameel McKay, who replaced Eugene Phelps, but lost to eventual champion San Miguel Beer, 115-96, in the knockout round.

The mid-season conference of the PBA will start April 22. Phoenix Fuel will continue to miss the services of point guard LA Revilla who is still recovering from a right hand injury.