Inspired by the presence of Manny Pacquiao, Mahindra defeated reigning champion San Miguel Beer, 105-103, to stay unbeaten in three games in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
Import James White, 23, finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and two assists to allow the Enforcers grab the solo lead.
“Hats off to San Miguel Beer, there’s really a reason that they’re the champs,” Mahindra coach Chris Gavina told reporters during the post-game interview. “Our guys showed their fortitude just like the other games that we treated as if they were playoff games.”
Nino Canaleta posted 17 points, including four triples, shooting guard Paolo Taha contributed 12, Keith Agovida 10, Aldrech Ramos nine while LA Revilla had eight points, seven rebounds, two steals and six assists also for the Enforcers.
“Great effort from our guys, their sheer determination and level of consistency is there – adapt and overcome – that’s what I’ve told them, whatever the situation, we should adapt and overcome,” said Gavina.
Pacquiao, who watched the game for the first time since being elected senator, said he is very happy with what he saw.
“I’m really satisfied with their performance. They didn’t give up and they listen to the coaches,” Pacquiao, 37, who remains Mahindra’s playing coach, told The Manila Times. “Most of our players are new. I’m happy the team is very energetic and aggressive.”
Playmaker Alex Cabagnot scored 15 points for San Miguel Beer whose win-loss record dropped to 2-1.
Meanwhile, Northern Luzon Expressway veteran center Paul Asi Taulava missed the Wednesday game against Ginebra after being suspended for one game and fined P32,000, for slapping San Miguel Beer’s David Semarad in an altercation on Friday.