Justin Bailey will lead the Birdmen but due to his Breakers team management commitments he was unavailable for their Mexicali Fresh Summer Jam opening game against Mai FM 88 Sixers on Saturday.
Jaylen Gerrand filled the void in style scoring a week one high 37 points to ease the Sixers to a comfortable 94-86 win against the Birdmen.
Both teams were missing key players but it was the Sixers that started the strongest forging an 18-15 lead.
That was turned around late in the first as Ana Haku landed a couple of corner threes to take Mai FM 88 Sixers to a 23-20 first quarter advantage.
Gerrand had the hot hands in the second scoring inside and out as the Birdmen moved to a 38-29 lead.
Brandon Lucas, a graduate from East Central University, Oklahoma, was also showing some nice scoring touch for the Birdmen and his match up with Haku was interesting to watch.
Guard Chris McIntosh knocked down a jump shot on the half-time buzzer that kept the Sixers in touch, 40-39, behind at the interval. Gerrand led all scorers with 23 points, Haku 19 points for the Sixers.
Forward Alex Schipper threw down a dunk for the Birdmen but a brace of Haku threes and inside baskets from Patrice Bolstad and Johnny Fesolai plus transition points from Manny Matabanadzo took the Sixers to a six point lead before the Birdmen took flight.
The back end of the third was one way traffic in favour of the Birdmen, their scoring surge highlighted by three consecutive threes from Lucas – 71-64 at three-quarter time.
Nick Barrow and Bolstad wheeled away inside for the Sixers but Gerrand and the support cast of Tipene Friday and the Aruwa brothers held all the answers in the fourth.
The Birdmen 94 – Gerrand 37, Lucas 22, Sam Aruwa 11, Samson Aruwa 10, Friday 8
Mai FM 88 Sixers 86 – Haku 28, Matabanadzo 17, Bolstad 10, Barrow 9, Lacey 8, McIntosh 8
The Women’s competition begins next Saturday, November 5th.