source: Reynaldo Belen | InterAKTV
Jayjay Helterbrand isn’t through writing his story.
After pondering retirement prior to the start of the season, Helterbrand added another amazing chapter to his career, nailing a buzzer-beater that gave Ginebra a tense 84-82 win over Petron Blaze in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
In a regular game that felt like a playoff encounter, the two teams traded one highlight for another.
Petron import Nick Fazekas, who debuted strongly with 37 points, tied the game with a three-pointer at 82-all, nailing the shot off a broken play for the Boosters with 3.9 seconds left.
That gave Ginebra enough time to perform a miracle, and Helterbrand ready to deliver.
Helterbrand received the inbound pass before getting a pick from import Chris Alexander. With the 6-foot-11 Fazekas switched on to him, the 2009 PBA Most Valuable Player double-pumped to nail a twisting jumper that hit nothing but net.
Fans went in the jam-packed coliseum let out a deafening roar as the ball fell through.
Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen gave all the credit for the play to the 34-year-old Helterbrand, who made a decision to defer his retirement at the end of the Philippine Cup.
“Nasa player naman talaga ‘yun and not the coach. Kahit anong ganda ng gawa mong play, kung hindi naman magagawa ng player, balewala rin yun. But Jayjay is a big-time player and what he did was a big-time move,” said Tanquingcen.
The Gin Kings struggled at several stretches and needed the late-game heroics of Helterbrand to pull off a win.
“We turned the ball over too much. We were hurting ourselves in every turnover, dahil almost automatically, transition agad yugn kalaban. This is something we really need to fix because last conference pa yan. But somehow, we were able to come out and pull it through,” said Tanquingcen.
Helterbrand finished with 11 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Chris Alexander led Ginebra with 21 points, but struggled in the second half, while Caguioa added 17.
The Gin Kings were holding an 11-point lead, 60-49, after Caguioa’s basket, with 2:46 left in the third quarter. But Fazekas, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot conspired for a 13-4 run that shoved the Boosters within striking distance, 64-62, at the end of the quarter, setting up an exciting finish.
Ginebra (84) – Alexander 21, Caguioa 17, Helterbrand 11, Raymundo 10, Hatfield 7, 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.
Quarterscores: 27-14; 47-34; 64-62; 84-82