MERALCO heaved a sigh of relief that history didn’t repeat itself in this version of Game Four of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals on Friday night.
In the same exact game in their finals prequel last year, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand provided a huge spark off the bench to lift Ginebra to a win that not just tied but also proved to be the turning point in the series.
On Friday night, Gin Kings coach Tim Cone again turned to the Fast and Furious tandem to give the Bolts a new look.
Caguioa chipped in eight points and four boards, while Helterbrand, playing his first game in the playoffs, added two points, two rebounds, and two assists as they conspired in rallying the Gin Kings from 13 points down in the third quarter.
The Gin Kings, however, fell short as they saw the Bolts come away with a two-point win – to tie the series this time.
“Yeah, that was a nightmare for a second,” Black admitted. “I even told the players we’re not gonna let these two guys do this again, are we? They did it to us last year, they came off the bench and came in and made a big difference to help them win the game.”
“And the players said, ‘no we’re not,’” he added. “So they stepped up to make sure it didn’t happen again.”
Bolts import Allen Durham insisted their defense didn’t focus on Caguioa and Helterbrand, but admitted their team-up last year was on the back of their minds.
“We never really just went in preparation for those two guys to be out there but in the timeout, coach told us, you know, we remember what happened last year, they came in, they kinda just stole the show,” Durham said. “So he told us to just keep our focus and just keep getting stops and execute and that’s what we did.”
And Black is bracing for another vintage showing from the old reliables in Game Five on Sunday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Of course there’s two more games to go and Helterbrand and Caguioa will probably play more, but at least it didn’t happen tonight,” Black said.