The Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC’s debut in the 2019 MPBL Lakan Cup was a success, edging out Caloocan Supremos-Victory Liner in overtime on Thursday night, 78-75.
Point guard James Martinez led the team with a team-high 26 points including 7 triples, one shy of tying his career-high in conversions from three-point distance.
Afterwards, the former University of the East Red Warrior deflected credit, and cited the leadership of new addition Jayjay Helterbrand as one of the main factors Imus came out on top with a hard-earned win.
“At least dumagdag si Jayjay Heltebrand. Nabibigay niya sa amin yung winning attitude. Talagang never-say-die siya. Nadadamay niya kami. Pinu-push niya ako,” said Martinez of Helterbrand.
The 42-year-old Helterbrand was key in his new club’s win, filling the stat-sheets with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in 30 minutes of play.
“Siguro breaks of the game na lang and kung sinong gustong manalo kasi nag-overtime, pagod na ‘rin lahat eh. Nagpapakundisyon pa lang din. Kinukuha pa namin yung chemistry namin. Kahit papa’no, at least nanalo. Ako naman, gusto ko lagi competitive team and lumalaban sa championship,” added Martinez.
Bandera head coach Budds Reyes agreed with Martinez, saying:
“We have Jayjay. Somehow, maganda yung experience. He helps out a lot. Sana magtuloy-tuloy. Noong second half, nahirapan kami dahil nagkaroon ng injury rin si Mikee Reyes.”
Helterbrand, meanwhile, said he still has ways to go before being back in ideal form, especially after retiring from the pro ranks two years ago.
He did credit the rest of his teammates for the effort they did in the victory, while acknowledging Imus can only get better in their succeeding games.
“It was fun and a good experience for me. We played as a team. All the guys stepped up. Sobrang saya na we got our first win. It was a total team effort. As for me, I have a long way to go. I am out of shape talaga. This league is fast-paced, up and down, kailangan magpa-kundisyon talaga,” said Helterbrand.
“As long as we stay humble, focused, and hungry, I think we can do well. As long as we continue to play well and not forget why we won. There are still things we have to improve on. Hopefully we can improve on those things in practice and play better the next game.”
Imus will next play fellow Cavite-based club Bacoor Strikers on Thursday, June 20 at the Bulacan Capitol Gym.
About Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma/GLC:
Imus Bandera-Khaleb Shawarma is one of the 10 pioneering teams of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League playing in the Southern Division of the league playing at the Imus City Sports Complex in Imus, Cavite, a third-class city in the Philippines.
The Bandera won their Lakan Cup season opener against Caloocan Supremos-Victory Liner, 78-75 behind James Martinez’s 26 points on 7-of-10 three-point shooting.
The Bandera’s Lakan Cup season campaign is fully backed by Khaleb Shawarma, GLC Trucks and Equipment, City Mayor Hon. Emmanuel Maliksi, City Vice Mayor Hon. Ony Cantimbuhan, and Congressman of the 3rd District of Cavite Hon. Alex Advincula.