White admits Mahindra lost focus after early big lead
Mahindra was cruising in the PBA Governors’ Conference winning its first four games, but on Friday the Enforcers got pulled over to a sudden stop as Phoenix handed them their first loss, 100-94.
A loss so sudden could rattle any young team, but the Enforcers 23-year-old import James Whitesaid they have to learn from their mistake.
“It’s just a learning experience, you’ve got to understand successful teams will have highs and lows and coming to the situation, we kind of lost focus a little bit with that lead and it was the first time we got that big of a lead,” said White.
Mahindra held a commanding 20-point lead, 34-14, in the first half but the Fuel Masters slowly chipped the edge away with veteran guard Cyrus Baguio steering them in the final period.
Baguio was the focal point of the Phoenix offense as he finished with 22 points, 16 of which came in the second and fourth quarters when the Fuel Masters closed the gap and maintained their lead.
“We learned that no matter what, we got to fight too, it was a learning stage and we are blessed to be in this situation,” said White who had a game-high 24 points for Mahindra.
Down 93-90 with less than two minutes remaining, White drove to the basket that cut the Enforcers’ deficit to 93-92 with 1:35 remaining in the game.
Baguio, however, responded with a jumper from the top of the key putting Phoenix up 95-92 and giving back the momentum to the Fuel Masters.
White said they would have to face the realization that teams will be “hungrier” when they face them as their 4-1 record still tops the standings.
“Coming into every game, we understand that we will play teams that are much hungrier than us and we know that every possession counts.”
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