MANILA, Philippines – More than two years since he last played a game for Barangay Ginebra, Jayjay Helterbrand remains a presence on the squad.
This, according to veteran guard Mark Caguioa, who together with Helterbrand formed the famed "The Fast and the Furious" backcourt that anchored Ginebra for over a decade.
Helterbrand retired from the PBA after the Gin Kings won the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup crown, while Caguioa continued to suit up for the team, albeit in a reserve role. Since Helterbrand's retirement, Ginebra has won two more titles – the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup, and the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup.
"I was actually thinking about that the other day," Caguioa said ahead of their championship celebration last Monday. "I'm so used to winning championships when my other half is here."
Helterbrand and Caguioa won six championships together since teaming up in 2001. They also experienced individual success with Helterbrand earning MVP honors in 2009, and Caguioa in 2012.
While they may not be playing together anymore, Caguioa said Ginebra's success can still be traced back to Helterbrand, who came out of retirement in 2019 and is now playing for Imus in the MPBL.
"I still think na whenever we win a championship, andito pa rin siya," said Caguioa. "He's always gonna be a part of this team, maski na you don't see him in pictures."
"He's one of the guys that carried this Ginebra to the very top," he added.
Caguioa, for his part, is not yet thinking of stepping away from Ginebra. Though he just plays little minutes for the squad, he remains one of the team's unquestioned leaders.
On Monday night, he announced that he will play for at one more year with the Gin Kings.
"(At this stage) in my career, you don't even care about your playing time," Caguioa said. "You're just in there for the ride, and it's been a ride, especially with these guys."
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