Martinez gives back to team with record 58-point outburst
AMA Online Education may have been eliminated from the Final Four race of the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, but James Martinez made sure that the Titans would not go down without a fight.
The 29-year-old guard left a mark late in the tournament as he shattered the PBA D-League scoring record by unloading 58 points in AMA’s 125-76 victory over Topstar ZC Mindanao on Tuesday.
That performance eclipsed the previous record set by Mac Belo, who scored 41 in Phoenix’s defeat to Caida Tile in the 2016 Aspirants’ Cup.
But Martinez made it clear that it was his way of repaying the trust given to him by the team.
“Kung di rin dahil kay coach Mark (Herrera), di ko magagawa yun. Grabe yung tiwala nya sa akin so nire-repay ko lang sa kanya yung tiwala,” he said.
Starting out flat, the former UE playmaker got going in the second period, firing 13 to help the Titans hold a 49-40 halftime edge. He sustained that hot streak in the third, once again pouring 13 before his teammates made the conscious effort to find him in the fourth, where he unloaded 31 points.
“May nagsabi sa akin na 40 na yung ginagawa ko at 41 yung record ni Belo. Sabi nila i-try ko mag-45, 50. Sila coach Mark na rin ang nagsasabi na dagdagan ko pa at pati yung teammates ko, sa akin na rin binibigay yung bola nung huli,” he said. “Kaso marami din akong mintis eh, pero naging ayos naman kasi shumoot na nung bandang huli.”
Martinez finished on a 10-of-25 clip from beyond the arc, to go with his four rebounds and two steals.
Though it’s an unusual sight to see the 5-foot-9 playmaker change from being a distributor to the go-to guy, Martinez said that he’s just filling the role the coaches necessitates from him.
“Kung ano naman ang ibigay na role sa akin, kung ano yung hinanap sa akin ng coach, yun ang ginagawa ko. Kahit nung bata pa ko, yun na talaga eh, three-point shooter na ako,” he said.
But it’s not the lone role Martinez is doing for AMA, as he, together with veteran big man Jay-R Taganas, are trying to impart their knowledge to the younger players in the Titans roster.
“Yung winning attitude na lang ang gusto namin maibigay sa mga bata. School-based yung team, so kailangang madala nila yung winning attitude sa liga nila, yung pride,” he said. “Kami naman kino-correct na lang namin sila. Pag may nakita na lang kaming mali, sinasabihan na lang namin sila. Parang lider naman kami dito, mga kuya dahil kami na rin naman ang nakakatanda sa team.”
With two more games remaining in AMA’s schedule, all Martinez wants is to hone that winning attitude as the Titans eye to put a dent in the top two aspirations of Tanduay and Racal.
“Di naman sa magpe-play kami ng spoiler role. Para sa amin din, yung pride na sinasabi namin every game, gusto pa rin naming manalo,” he said. “Ako mismo, ayokong natatalo eh. Kaya kailangan namin manalo doon sa mga huling laro namin.”
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