Jayjay Helterbrand created an incredible winning play in the last 3.9 seconds as Barangay Ginebra squeezed out an 84-82 win over Petron Blaze to start its campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum sunday night.
The 2008 MVP awardee eluded defender Alex Cabagnot then scored on a twisting shot off 6-foot-10 Nick Fazekas at the buzzer as the Kings got off to a winning start in the mid-season tourney after a sixth-place finish in the Philippine Cup.
“The play was really for Jayjay. Pero wala sa coach yong ginawa nya. Sya na ang gumawa noon,”
said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen of the winning play made by Helterbrand sending the huge Big
Dome crowd to a frenzy.
It was an amazing game marked by several amazing plays including the one run by the Boosters to tie the count at 82 with 3.9 ticks left.
In their final possession with 20.1 seconds left, the Boosters showed so much patience, working the ball around before eventually finding Fazekas who banged away a game-tying three-pointer.
The two teams figured in a fierce battle at the finish after the Boosters gallantly fought back from a 22-point deficit in the first half.
“We turned the ball over too much and we hurt ourselves with those errors. Ang bilis nila kaming
hinabol dahil sa transition plays nila,” said Tanquingcen.
The youthful Ginebra mentor, however, said his boys nonetheless deserved commendation for staying in the battle and overcoming the pressure.
“I have to give it to them. They hung in there,” said Tanquingcen.
The Kings squandered a 22-point first-half lead but pulled through just the same while drawing
tremendous efforts from Helterbrand, returning import Chris Alexander, Mark Caguioa and new recruit Kerby Raymundo.
Alexander produced 21 points and 24 rebounds as against Fazekas’ 37 markers and 18 boards in their classic showdown.
A legitimate former NBA player with stints with the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers, Fazekas showed great touch, going 2-of-2 from the three-point area, 11-of-25 from the two-point zone and 9-of-10 from the stripe.
Alexander, meanwhile, did what’s expected of him.
“Alam niya kung ano ang kailangan namin sa kanya, at ibinigay naman niya. We have to give credit
to the guy. He’s out of shape when he came but he worked to get into competitive form,” said
Caguioa led the Ginebra locals with 17 points that went on top of nine rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Helterbrand finished with 11 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals while Raymundo
debuted as a Ginebra player with 10 points and six rebounds.
Chris Lutz paced the Petron locals with 13 points.
Coming out smoking, the Kings opened a double-digit spread, 27-14, right in the opening quarter.
They converted 61.9 percent of their shots in the first period and, though cooling down in the
second quarter, kept a 13-point spread, 47-34, at the turn.
Alexander had piled up near double-double number just in the first quarter with 10 points and seven rebounds with Caguioa adding eight markers and two boards. (SB)
GINEBRA 84 -Alexander 21, Caguioa 17, Helterbrand 11, Raymundo 10, Hatfield 7, W. Wilson 4, Mamaril 4, Labagala 3, Cortez 3, Ababou 2, Canaleta 2.
PETRON 82 - Fazekas 37, Lutz 13, Santos 8, Cabagnot 8, Miranda 6, Ildefonso 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Reyes 0, Yeo 0, Tugade 0.
Quarters: 27-14, 47-34, 64-62, 84-82