EXCLUSIVE: Former MVP Helterbrand retires after 17-year PBA career

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Barangay Ginebra fan favorite Jayjay Helterbrand has decided to end his career in professional basketball.

Helterbrand announced his decision on CNN Philippines' Sports Desk on Monday morning.

"This is one of the most special ones for me because it’ll probably be my last as a player," Helterbrand said, referring to Ginebra's championship-clinching Game 7 victory.

Seated beside longtime backcourt partner Mark Caguioa in the studio, the former most-valuable player (MVP) said he is looking into the possibility of a future in the Ginebra coaching staff.

"Hopefully I will still be around, and hopefully I can still have a spot as an assistant coach or something," he added.

Helterbrand said he is not in any rush, and wants to take time to step away from the game for the moment.

"I'm just going to take a little rest from basketball for awhile," Helterbrand said. "Kind of miss basketball and then come back later on."

Looking back at his 17-year career, the Ginebra guard only had fond memories.

"I've had a great career, I have no regrets whatsoever," he said. "I think this is the perfect time for me to hang it up, and on my own terms. I don't want to retire from basketball because of injuries."

Helterbrand's last appearance in a Ginebra uniform was in Game 7 of the Governors' Cup Finals in front of a record-breaking crowd of 54,000 people.

Ginebra won the championship, giving Helterbrand the perfect exit.

"Winning a championship right before I retire, I think that's the best way to go out," Helterbrand said. "I am really happy with my decision."

End of 'Fast and the Furious' era

The 41-year-old guard played his entire PBA career with Barangay Ginebra, ever since coming into the league in 2000 as a direct hire.

With Ginebra, Helterbrand formed a celebrated backcourt partnership with Caguioa, who are fondly referred to by fans as "the Fast and the Furious."

Despite knowing of Helterbrand's decision for days, Caguioa still has to fully process the development.

"I still didn't want to believe it, but now here live, I guess I have to put into my head that he isn't going to be there and just be ready," Caguioa said. "I've been with this guy since the beginning."

Last year, Caguioa talked Helterbrand out of hanging up his sneakers, but this time around he was more ready to let his backcourt tandem go.

"We did that last year right? Then I started crying," Caguioa said. "This time I was kind of ready, I don't need to cry anymore."

Helterbrand had won six PBA championships, a Finals MVP nod, an MVP title, and seven PBA All-Star selections in his 17-year career.