MARK Caguioa considers his knee injury a blessing in disguise as it gave his longtime backcourt mate Jayjay Helterbrand a second wind in his seemingly sagging PBA career.
Caguioa said he was happy to see his 36-year-old buddy play like he was in his 20s, back in the days when the 'Fast and the Furious' was the most feared backcourt in the pro league.
“It’s a blessing that I got injured because he (Helterbrand) had more time to play,” said Caguioa, who made a surprise 35-second appearance in the deciding Game Five of the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series against Talk `N Text.
Caguioa scored two points in the series-clinching 111-103 victory Sunday before an overflow crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
For every Helterbrand jump shot, Caguioa was seen on the bench jumping, pumping his fist, or exchanging high-fives with the rest of the Ginebra players.
The rejuvenated Helterbrand, who averaged just 3.6 points during the eliminations, raised his production in the semis to 11.5 points, three rebounds, and 1.5 assists.
He reserved his best for last as he finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists in an off-the-bench role during Sunday’s series-clinching win.
“I don’t care if I’m a franchise player or star player, it doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’ve been in the PBA 13 years. I play for the fans, my teammates, and the team and as long as everyone is happy, I’m happy too,” added the 33-year-old Caguioa, the reigning league MVP.
The Ginebra superstar said he’s even ready to come off the bench and spell Helterbrand in the Finals against Alaska starting with Game One on Wednesday.
“I’m always gonna be ready (to play in the Finals). My teammates brought me here to the championship series. Sana naman I can return the favor to them. I’m not gonna score 20 points in the game but I just want to win,” explained Caguioa, who has missed the team’s last 11 games owing to an MCL injury.