JAYJAY Helterbrand said he was aware of all the whispers saying his best days are behind him, that he is no longer the same player that he was during his MVP year in 2009.
He waited patiently for the chance to prove them wrong.
“The whole year, I’ve been hearing a lot of negative things. But it really pushed me and motivated me and light up a fire in me,” said the Barangay Ginebra backcourt mainstay.
“I have nothing to prove to anyone. I know those who say bad against me are not real fans of this team. The fans know me and what I am to the team.
I know when I am healthy, I can ball!”
Helterbrand, 36, insisted it was health, more than age or the arrival of fellow guard LA Tenorio, that had slowed him down in a season that had seen him spend most of his time languishing on the Ginebra bench.
A recurring hamstring injury had hounded him for much of the campaign, Helterbrand revealed, taking away the quickness from the one half of Ginebra's famed 'Fast and the Furious' combo and affecting his jumper.
But once finally healthy, the Novaliches, Quezon City native showed what he can do, scoring all his 13 points in the fourth quarter while going 3-of-3 from three-point land in a 90-83 win over Rain or Shine on Saturday.
“The main thing is … my confidence is back. There’s no more pain in my legs. I am able to explode and get higher leap on my jumpshots,” said the 13-year league veteran.
“When my legs are weak, it affects my confidence. My injury really affected the way I play this conference.”
Finally in top shape, Helterbrand is now looking forward to winning again over the twice-to-beat Painters on Monday and extending the playoff run of the Gin Kings long enough to see longtime backcourt partner Mark Caguioa return from his own injury woes.
“I don’t want to look past Rain or Shine. But if we handle business (on Monday), Mark said his legs are getting better day-by-day,” Helterbrand said.
“So hopefully, God willing, we get past Rain or Shine so we can play again together.”