by Ernest Hernandez

Imus Bandera left a good impression following their first win of the 2019-2020 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) debut against the Caloocan Supremos in overtime. But despite the win, head coach Budds Reyes believes that the team still has a long way to go.

“May crucial mistakes noong end game. Unang-una, two misses eh – one from Jayjay (Helterbrand), one from James (Martinez) which could have ended the game already,” rues Reyes.

James Martinez stepped up in overtime by starting off with back-to-back threes. He finished with 26 points and made seven three-point shots in the game.

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Jayjay Helterbrand of Imus Bandera cheers on his teammates (MPBL photo)

Veteran guard Jayjay Helterbrand chipped in with 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Both players were commended by Reyes for lifting the team past the Supremos.

“Think luck lang kasi even before that nagmi-miss na sila, eh. I don’t know if they are tired—lady luck lang and of course experience ni Jayjay and James,” he said.

Reyes emphasized on they need to polish their offensive and defensive switches as well.

Team leading scorer Martinez pointed out that they have to work harder on the rebounding department in which they are outdueled by Caloocan, 47-60.

“Feeling ko siguro yung rebounding talaga kasi small ball laro naming,” said Martinez “Dapat talaga total team effort yung rebounding, yung defense sa help side, feeling ko yun na lang at konting play.”

On a high note, Helterbrand lauds how the team responded to pressure and secure the overtime win.

“My hats come off to them, they really stepped up, played smart and got key rebounds,” said the former Gin King. “But there are still things we have to improve on. Hopefully, the next weeks in practice, we can work on those things and do better next game.”

Imus Bandera will face Bacoor Strikers next on June 19, Thursday at the Bulacan Capitol Gym.

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