Jayjay Helterbrand, who is capping off a triumphant 17-year career, has asked the Ginebra brass to hold off on any retirement ceremony for him until Mark Caguioa decides to hang up his sneakers too.
“I told them that I want to wait until Mark retires and we’ll do it together. I think it will be fitting to do that,” said the 2009 PBA MVP.
It may be a long wait for Heltebrand as Caguioa isn’t ready to call it a career just yet.
“I told him wait for about 10 years, when I’m 47 (years old),” said the MVP of the 2012 season.
Caguioa shared that it was bittersweet to see his backcourt partner call it a career, but he also believes that it’s just right for Helterbrand to make his exit while on top with Ginebra’s back-to-back titles.
“I’m happy, but sad at the same time. I’m happy that he’ll be able to spend time with his family and loved ones back in the United States. I’m sad because I’m not gonna be with him every day,” he said. “Sixteen years we’ve played together and we were basically with each other every single day. Now that he’ll be gone in practices and games, it’s gonna be a big adjustment for me. But for him, this one was the best way to go and that’s perfect.”
Caguioa and Helterbrand had gone the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the Ginebra franchise. They started as the upstart “Bandana Brothers” days and became the face of the franchise as “The Fast and the Furious” before settling as reliable veterans for this championship team.
Though Caguioa admitted he tried to talk Helterbrand out of retiring last year, but he supports his brother’s decision to end his illustrious run in the pro league.
“I kind of talked to him out of it after the first championship last year. But this season, I was ready for it. I kind of sensed it, and I know that he’s ready. I’m happy because he’s happy with that decision,” he said.
Overall, Caguioa is just grateful to have someone like Helterbrand for the most of his career, adding that their duo could arguably be one of the longest partnerships the league has ever saw.
“It’s very rare to have a partner like him, your tandem for as long as 16 years. This might be the longest tandem the PBA has ever seen,” he said.