BARANGAY Ginebra found an unlikely hero in a resurgent Jayjay Helterbrand as it pulled off a come-from-behind 90-83 victory over Rain or Shine on Saturday night to forge a knockout match in their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinal playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Helterbrand, almost a forgotten men in Ginebra's lineup following the arrival of LA Tenorio, scored all his 13 points in the fourth quarter while going 3-of-3 from behind the three-point arc to complete the Kings' amazing comeback from an early 15-point deficit.
“Jayjay, during the first quarter, he didn’t play well. He missed two shots, but I think it’s God’s will. Sa ibang player yun, di mo na bubunutin but I didn’t know,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.
"I just got him. In practice he’s not shooting that well, but I keep on asking him to make the basket. He won it for us. Wala akong masabi."
The Gin Kings’ defense, on the other hand, forced the twice-to-beat Elasto Painters to 16 turnovers in the second half, which they translated to 31 big points, as they forged a winner-take-all match on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I want to thank coach Al for putting the confidence in me,” said the 36-year-old Helterbrand, the 2009 league MVP.
Aside from Helterbrand, Ginebra also found a lot of heroes in the absence of top scorer Mark Caguioa, among them veteran forward Kerby Raymundo and new boy Josh Urbiztondo.
Raymundo scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half while former Barako Bull starter Urbiztondo debuted for the Gin Kings in style, finishing wth four points, five rebounds, and five assists - three of them coming during the team's critical fourth-quarter stand.
Vernon Macklin led the Gin Kings with 21 points and seven rebounds, while Tenorio added 19.
Bruno Sundov paced the Elasto Painters with 29 points and 16 rebounds, but he committed crucial turnovers during the final period that contributed to his team’s downfall.
Brgy Ginebra 90 - Macklin 21, Tenorio 19, Raymundo 14, Helterbrand 13, Baracael 7, Hatfield 7, Ellis 5, Urbiztondo 4, Taha 0, Labagala 0, Mamaril 0
Rain or Shine 83 - Sundov 29, Chan 15, Cruz 12, Arana 8, Lee 6, Norwood 5, Quinahan 4, Ibanes 4, Tiu 0, Matias 0, Belga 0, Rodriguez 0
Quarterscores: 23-29, 37-48, 58-62, 90-83