WITH his original 'Fast and the Furious' partner Mark Caguioa sidelined by an injury, Jayjay Helterbrand appeared lost in Ginebra's scheme of things.
That was until Josh Urbiztondo arrived.
Helterbrand immediately hit it off with the new recruit from Barako Bull as they formed a three-guard combo with LA Tenorio in the endgame that led Ginebra to a 90-83 victory over Rain or Shine on Saturday night.
Helterbrand, 36, shone brightest among the three, scoring all of his 13 points in the final quarter while going 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc – with most of his shots set up by either Tenorio or new-boy Urbiztondo.
In fact, the biggest shot of the night – a Helterbrand three-pointer that opened a six-point lead for the Gin Kings in the final seconds – came after Urbiztondo drew the Rain or Shine defense to him on a drive before kicking off to an open Helterbrand.
“I feel really comfortable playing with Josh for the first time,” said Helterbrand, the 2009 PBA MVP who has spent most of his time on the bench since Tenorio’s arrival at Ginebra.
“I just want a chance to go out there. I know I’d be able to contribute. Especially now we have Josh and LA, I know they can create shots for me.”
The well-travelled Urbiztondo joined Ginebra in practice just two days earlier after arriving in a trade for Keith Jensen and a future second-round pick, but he readily felt right at home with the league’s most popular ballclub.
“I do feel at home (with Ginebra),” he said. “And I’ll try to adjust as soon as I can since I was on vacation before the playoffs. But they’ve been here so many times, so we know what it takes.”
The 'Fireball' said playing with the legion of Ginebra fans behind him was a surreal experience.
“The fans are just overwhelming. That’s just the never-say-die spirit. I was happy in our first practice. The spirit and vibes was so high, I’ve never seen that spirit before,” he said.