It took a 40-year-old guard to keep Barangay Ginebra’s championship hopes alive.
Flashing his vintage form, Jayjay Helterbrand spearheaded a backbreaking 21-2 run that pushed the Gin Kings to an 88-86 win that evened the PBA Governors’ Cup finals series at 2-2 Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sent in just as Ginebra stared at a 16-point deficit entering the final period, the veteran guard put on his cape, jumpstarting the crowd favorites’ rally with a triple and then bookending it with another 3-pointer that made it 79-76 with less than 6 minutes left.
Helterbrand, who was celebrating his 40th birthday, scored all 11 of his points, made all 4 of his shot attempts and was a +18 in 10 minutes in the fourth quarter.
A 3-point play by Allen Durham tied the match for the last time at 86-all with 1:19 remaining before both teams traded turnovers with under a minute left.
With the game on the line, Joe DeVance hit a turnaround jumper to beat the shot clock and give the Kings an 88-86 edge with 25.7 seconds on the clock.
Durham missed a 3-point attempt in the ensuing play, but LA Tenorio missed 2 free-throws with 9.5 seconds left, giving Meralco a final shot at redemption.
Newly-minted Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome, however, could not buy a basket as time expired.
Five Kings finished in double figures led by Japeth Aguilar, who had 19 points and 6 rebounds.
On the other hand, Durham saw his 34-point, 20-board effort go to waste as no other Bolt other than Newsome scored more than 8 markers.