Ginebra teammates can sense goodbye, but Helterbrand not rushing into retirement
Jayjay Helterbrand and Ginebra teammates celebrate at mid-court after Game 7. Jerome Ascano

BOCAUE, BULACAN - Moments after the final buzzer signalled the end of Game Seven, Jayjay Helterbrand was all smiles in the middle of a scrum of players at midcourt as Ginebra celebrated another PBA Governors Cup championship.

It was the second successive Governors Cup title for Ginebra and the sixth PBA championship for Helterbrand, who has been the subject of retirement speculation all season as he rounded out the 17th season of his career.

No wonder younger teammates like sophomore Scottie Thompson sensed a certain finality after Ginebra's 101-96 victory in Game Seven. 

"Emotional ako, naiiyak ako kasi tinanong ko siya kanina (before the game), sabi ko, 'Kuya, last mo na 'to?' tapos sumagot siya, 'Yeah,'" Thompson told a handful of sportswriters outside the Ginebra dugout.

"Naging emotional ako, nalulungkot ako, para sa kanya 'to," he added.

However, Helterbrand, 41, was in no rush to make any announcements on retirement, saying he wants to savor this latest championship before making any decisions on his career.

"Wala, celebrate muna," he said after emerging from the Ginebra locker room.

Helterbrand is bound to go down as one of the greats of Ginebra regardless of when he ends his career. The Fil-Am guard won the league MVP award in 2009 after sparking a resurgence for Ginebra in tandem with pal Mark Caguioa.

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