FIRST they helped rescue the Wollongong Hawks.
Now IMB has saved the Illawarra Seahawks from extinction with new sponsorship for the 2008 Waratah Australian Basketball League season.
The deal provides support for the Illawarra men's and women's youth teams and state league side.
"Without the IMB, the Illawarra senior program simply wouldn't exist," Seahawks coach Matt Flinn said.
"(Hawks shareholder) Ray Williamson was the main person behind it and on behalf of our guys and everyone involved with the program, I want to thank Ray, the IMB and also the Hawks. Having that backing is vital to building a solid feeder team for the Hawks in the NBL."
Chief executive Rob Ryan said IMB was proud to play a role in the development of the Illawarra's junior talent.
"We have enjoyed our eight-year involvement with the Hawks and we are now looking forward to continuing to support the team as well as the four Illawarra rep teams," he said.
The Seahawks started their season with a home win over Canberra before going down 101-90 to Newcastle last weekend.
The team comprises John Philip, Dan Jackson, Chris Jackson, Dom Cooks, Talor Goodall, Keiran Gleeson, Luke Higgins, Cam Fincher, Brad Simpson, Dan Jepson and Josh Woods.
Philip, who was cut by the Hawks last month after five years with the club, was Illawarra's best against Newcastle with 37 points and 13 rebounds.
But 24 turnovers and a 35 per cent shooting clip ruined their chances of beating the Hunters.
"There were 18 lead charges so we had our opportunities, but we didn't shoot the ball well all night and Newcastle hit some big shots down the stretch," Flinn said.
"We've addressed some things at training and hopefully we'll bounce back with a better performance against Hornsby the week after the Easter break."