JAYJAY Helterbrand was used to being cheered on by the legions of Barangay Ginebra fans in the PBA. But in his first-ever MPBL game on Thursday night, the 42-year-old Helterbrand was booed when he headed to the foul line by the Caloocan home crowd with the Imus Bandera leading the Supremos, 74-72, with five seconds left.
Helterbrand sank one of two free throws on that trip, which proved to be enough as his team came out as winners in their first game of Season 3 of the league.
The former PBA MVP said his first MPBL game felt like playing for Barangay Ginebra all over again, but this time, the crowd was rooting against him.
“For sure,” said Helterbrand, when asked if there are similarities to playing in front of the Ginebra crowd. “The only difference is it’s not a homecourt. This is the first time I had another team not rooting for me. But it’s awesome.”
As to being booed while shooting free throws, Helterbrand said: “It’s part of the game. They’re supposed to have pride in their homecourt. That was supposed to happen. It’s great to see the support from their home team. It’s awesome.”
In his first MPBL game, Helterbrand had 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. He also shot 4 of 8 from the field including a 3 of 5 clip from threes.
Despite his impressive showing, Helterbrand said he is still far from the game shape that he wants to have.
“It’s pretty good. It’s just that I’m out of shape, man. I’m not in basketball shape but it felt good. I just need to get more practice in because I’ve only practiced with the team one time. I really don’t know the system quite yet. I’m just getting to know the players so I’m learning as we go,” Helterbrand said.
But Helterbrand said he likes the style of play in the MPBL, something that is similar to the ‘Fast and Furious’ days with Ginebra during their heydays.
“It’s my style of play, run and gun style, fast paced type of game. This is the type of game that I love to play and known for. This is the style of play I’ve been playing since my rookie year. So if I get in shape, I’m a good fit for this league,” said Helterbrand.