BARANGAY Ginebra guard Jayjay Helterbrand has been in the league long enough to tell what type of import can bring the Kings deep into the playoffs.
And one look at Josh Powell had him giving the thumbs up.
The 6-8 Powell wasn’t spectacular after finishing with just 16 points and 15 rebounds in his debut in an 88-78 win over Meralco last week - numbers that pale in comparison to the statistics piled up by his fellow imports or even the man he replaced at Ginebra, Leon Rodgers.
But more than just the points and rebounds, Helterbrand said it is the energy, experience and the intangibles that the two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers bring to the table that make him confident about the Gin Kings' chances in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
“The import gave us a lot of energy. I think our bigs, I can tell from just watching the game (against Meralco), they are learning something from our import, and that’s really good,” the one-time PBA MVP told Spin.ph.
With Powell setting the tone on defense and setting the picks on offense, Helterbrand said it was so easy for the rest of Ginebra's players to get good looks at the basket.
No less than five local players scored in double figures against Meralco.
“He’s (Powell) really a big help. You can tell why he played in the NBA. His experience, he ended up with four fouls but he finished the game with four fouls,” said the 37-year-old Ginebra playmaker.
“He’s just so strong, he knows how to set picks, and the way he sets pick, that’s what we need because we’re a pick and roll team,” he added.
“If we have a guy who sets picks like that, we’ll get shots, that’s what happens.”
And things are bound to get better for Ginebra, Helterbrand said, with the All-Star break giving Powell more time to acclimatize and blend with the locals - and veteran like him and Mark Caguioa the chance to rest their banged-up bodies.
“It (All-Star break) allowed the older guys like me and Mark to rest and the import to get more acclimated. And I think he’ll (Powell) be even better once settled in,” said the former Kentucky State University standout.