Caguioa and Helterbrand, Barangay Ginebra’s long-time backcourt tandem, have been through a lot. They experienced the highs and lows during their more than a decade playing together at Ginebra.
They have tasted the sweet aroma of success during the 2008 PBA Fiesta Conference, battling Air21 through a seven-game title series before coming out on top.
But that proved to be their last championship. Over the last seven years, the duo and the legion of Ginebra fans are still waiting for the next championship toast.
This year, Helterbrand, 38, admitted he’s no spring chicken anymore.
‘Father Time’ has caught up on him, but the veteran guard remains confident that he can still provide quality minutes off the bench for the Gin Kings next season.
Helterbrand admitted he still has one season left on his contract, after which, he will decide from there if he’ll retire or continue playing.
“I got one year left on my contract but we’ll see what happens,” he said.
And though retirement looms on the horizon, the long-time Ginebra playmaker is optimistic that he could still win another championship before he calls it a day.
“Of course, that’s (win championships) always the goal every conference and every season. But I’m not saying I’m retiring yet. I’m not saying I’m not, but it’s always good to end it up on a good note,” Helterbrand said.
Helterbrand’s numbers have gone to the depths last season, averaging PBA career-low stats of just 2.8 points, 1.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.
However, the former Kentucky State University guard isn’t complaining.
Instead, he is using the preseason to get better and hopefully, be ready to contribute when his number is called.
“It’s about maturing man. I know my role now. It’s not about playing a lot of minutes, but it’s about being productive with my minutes,” he said.
“Whether I play or not, I still have to be in shape, be a professional, take care of my body, and yun nga, kapag tinawag ng coach, just be ready.”
The 5-foot-11 Fil-Am guard also welcomed the entry of Cone, saying the new coach’s triangle system gets everyone involved on offense.
“From a general look of the team, everyone seemed very excited, very focused and I’m very intrigued with coach Tim and his teachings,” shared the Ginebra veteran point guard.
“But I never had a problem with triangle. In fact, I like how it gives you a flow. You don’t have to worry about calling plays and you’re positioning and where the passes go,” he added.
“So it’s less stressful for the point guards and then everyone gets the touches and can shoot the ball.”
With a brand new coach for next season, Helterbrand hopes Cone’s winning touch rubs off on every Ginebra player.
And for Helterbrand, winning begins today – winning begins in practice, embracing the team concept that Cone has long championed in his fabled Alaska and Purefoods teams -and who knows, he, along with the Gin Kings and the rest of their die-hard fans could experience that championship euphoria again.