Ex-Ginebra Artadi says Helterbrand, Caguioa can still lead Kings to the title

In a rare PBA appearance since retiring last season, former Ginebra point guard Paul Artadi relished the opportunity to see “The Fast and The Furious” put on a show up close.

Watching Game 4 intently Friday night, Artadi said he was fortunate to witness his former teammates Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa come up with vintage performances in the Kings’ thrilling 88-86 win against the Meralco Bolts.

“Karapat dapat naman na maglaro sila (Caguioa and Helterbrand) ng ganyan. Kasi yung time namin, sila ang inaasahan, at ngayon nagpakita ulit sila.  Tingnan mo yung resulta,” Artadi told FOX Sports after the game.

For die-hard Ginebra fans, they will surely remember the 5-foot-10 Artadi, who was an integral part of the franchise’s last championship in 2008 after stepping up for the lethal duo, who were then hobbled by injuries.

Curiously though, after his Ginebra stint, Artadi donned the Meralco jersey from 2012-2014 before calling it quits last year as a member of the expansion team Blackwater.

And based on what he saw, Artadi, recently elected as a San Juan councilor, believes Ginebra has the advantage in the Finals, which has been reduced to a best-of-3 affair.

“Kaya yan. Nagkakumpiyansa na yung Jayjay Helterbrand, maganda na yung resulta nun,” he said, confident that the veteran Ginebra playmaker, who turned 40 last Friday, can reprise his role for the rest of the Finals.

And while Helterbrand and Caguioa are not as quick as they used to be, Artadi feels the “Fast and the Furious” should still get some playing time to ensure Ginebra finishes off Meralco.

“Ibabad nila sina Helterbrand at Caguioa,” he said.

Once that happens, Artadi hopes the 2008 Ginebra team will also hold a reunion as they reminisce the good, old days. – Jason Mercene

Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH