The Good News: Jayjay Helterbrand still has it

PBA Image c/o Nuki Sabio

Last Saturday, Jayjay Helterbrand proved to everyone that he still has it.


It came in the form of delivering all of his 13 points in the payoff period of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel's 90-83 victory over the Rain or Shine ElastoPainters. It particularly made manifest in the game's boxscore that showed him go 3 out of 3 from beyond the arc. Three crucial three-pointers.


If you’re on the opposing team, you know you felt each and every conversion crush your spine.


While on the other side of the fence, it sparked hope to the entire Barangay Ginebra faithful.


They now have an additional reason to believe that even though Mark Caguioa sits buried on their bench nursing a knee injury, they can still beat the higher-seeded, twice-needed-to-beat ElastoPainters in the quarterfinals.


Ginebra has been relying heavily on LA Tenorio and Vernon Macklin ever since Caguioa got injured. The 36-year-old Helterbrand showed them that he is just waiting in the wings.


"I just want to get a chance to be out there - to at least break a sweat. And I know if I do, I'm gonna be able to contribute to the team," shared the former league MVP after the game.


"Wala akong masabi sa nilaro ni Jayjay. It's God's will. It's time for him to shine," were the only words Ginebra head coach Alfrancis Chua can offer.


"Everyone's telling me at the back, get Ellis, get Baracael. But I just got him," spoke Chua on Helterbrand, who did not have a particularly good first half. "Siguro pag sa ibang player yun, hindi mo na bubunutin."


“First quarter, I really didn’t do much. I think I was a little bit shaky,” admitted Helterbrand, who then thanked his coach for putting him in the fourth quarter.


The seven-time PBA All-Star confessed that for some time his legs were already feeling weak. But he professed that he has been trying to strengthen them for the past of couple of months.


“I can tell that my legs are getting stronger. I’m getting my explosiveness back,” was how he put it.


As Jayjay continues to strengthen his legs and as he tries to put the explosiveness back in his game, Chua for the meantime can only be grateful that the confidence of his ward is now finally back.


“I’m just happy na yung kumpiyansa niya bumalik na.”


In a light yet telling moment, Chua shared a story on Helterbrand’s struggles as of late.


“You know what he told me? ‘Coach, nakakahiya e. Nakakahiya pag nag-mintis ako.’”


“Sabi ko, nung magkalaban tayo nung Santa Lucia ako, dukdukan ng swapang mo eh. Tira ka ng tira. Tapos ngayon ayaw mong tumira kung kelan nandito nako,” shared Chua, who once upon a time called the shots for the now defunct franchise.


Helterbrand’s response while his head was down was just a naughty smirk. Perhaps, he was recalling days when he and Caguioa were at their prime. Running over opponents. Living up to their billing as Mr. Fast and Mr. Furious.


“I’ve also been praying a lot -- for God to bring me back my skills and I think He's answering the desires of my heart,” Helterbrand would later offer in the press conference.


Scoring 13 points. Hitting all of his three-pointers. Being instrumental in the win. Erasing Rain or Shine’s twice-to-beat advantage.


Jayjay Helterbrand proved to everyone that he still has it.


Kali Quiñones Kali Quiñones Sports Desk Online Editor

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