Chris Gavina confident of Mahindra’s improvement

Nearly a month since conducting practice with the Mahindra players, new lead assistant coach Chris Gavina is confident that the locals have “improved a lot” after incorporating several cross-training workouts.

Gavina said his intention since the day he assumed the day-to-day practice of the team is to build a “culture of excellence” for a Mahindra side that has fallen short of the PBA playoffs since joining the league last season.

“From the very first day we started practice, our main concern as a team is to create a culture that instills a consistent commitment to excellence day in and day out,” Gavina told FOX Sports.

“With that type of mindset, I feel we are beginning to realize what we are capable of accomplishing if no one allows personal agendas to get in the way of the overall success of the team as a whole,” he added.

The former conditioning-coach-turned-basketball coach believes incoming American import James White could easily blend in with what they will be doing in the Governors Cup due to his youth and athleticism.

“James White was chosen by our great management team, which boss (playing coach) Manny Pacquiao is directly involved with, and coach (consultant) Joe Lipa who witnessed James White during an import showcase in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago,” explained Gavina, who was born to Filipino parents that migrated to New Jersey when he was 3 years old.

White is fresh out of college, having just finished his stint with Georgia Tech where he averaged 3.50 points and 4.42 rebounds in 14.4 minutes in the 2015-16 season.

Before transferring to Georgia Tech, the 22-year-old White played 4 seasons for the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, the same school that produced former Los Angeles Lakers long-time point guard Derek Fisher.

Gavina, who succeeded Chito Victolero just last month, expects White to arrive within the next 2 weeks.

Mahindra is eager to make up for its lackluster ending in the Commissioner’s Cup that saw the Enforcers wind up 9th with their 4-7 record.

Veteran forward Nino Canaleta (14.55 points, 4.82 rebounds and 1.18 assists) and Aldrech Ramos (12.09 points, 6.09 rebounds and 1.18 assists), along with playmaker LA Revilla (10.82 points, 3.45 rebounds, 3.36 assists) form the local core of Mahindra. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava