It is clear that age has definitely caught up with Jayjay Helterbrand. Nowadays, Barangay Ginebra just expects him to be an occasional reliever for the guard spots and be a strong veteran presence in the locker room. With Ginebra pulling off a surprise by trading for Josh Urbiztondo before the playoffs, it definitely pushed Helterbrand further below in the rotation. In terms of expectations, while it would pain Ginebra fans to see him like this, there wasn’t really much expected from Helterbrand this past Commissioner’s Cup. The most everyone expected from Helterbrand would be a 6th man role for the Barangay, using his veteran savvy and still dead-eye shooting to anchor their bench attack.
Wow. Jayjay Helterbrand really turned back the hands of time in the Commissioner’s Cup! In their Cinderella run, he played like the vintage Helterbrand, hitting timely threes, attacking the basket and even dusting off his favorite stop and pop mid range jumpers. In the quarterfinals, he averaged 11.8 points while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. It’s safe to say that without Helterbrand’s revived play, Ginebra might have not been able to upset the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Ginebra fans definitely got drunk with nostalgia as Helterbrand gave them flashes of his “Fast” days in the mid 2000’s. Coach Alfrancis was clearly waiting for the right time to “dukot” him from the bench and when he did, Helterbrand clearly didn’t disappoint.
While his play may have experienced a renaissance, there was still something missing in his game that father time probably took away. Helterbrand has lost a step now, and while this is something that we all should have expected, Ginebra definitely was rolling the dice defensively when he was on the floor. Because Ginebra used a two or even a three guard lineup to fuel their fast paced attack, they had to play the smaller Helterbrand on bigger perimeter players. like Jeff Chan, Ryan Reyes and Dondon Hontiveros. Luckily for him, most of these guys were content in staying out on the perimeter, which made the risk Ginebra took a good gamble in the end.
Maybe the Josh Urbiztondo trade is all Helterbrand needed to light a fire under him again. However, we should all savor what the Ginebra time machine was able to give us this conference because I really don’t see this happening in the Governor’s Cup. Not only might imports play a more perimeter oriented game, Urbiztondo will now have had a lot more time to get himself familiarized with the Ginebra system. Also, the returning Mark Caguioa will make it hard for Coach Alfrancis to give Helterbrand consistent minutes. Then again, we said all these same things before the last conference started and look where it got us.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Approval Ratings
|Elmer Espiritu||Robert Labagala||Billy Mamaril||Kerby Raymundo||Jayjay Helterbrand|
|Mac Baracael||Rudy Hatfield||Chris Ellis||LA Tenorio||Mark Caguioa|