JAY-JAY HELTERBRAND gets to play once more before his fans carried over from his Barangay Ginebra San Miguel days and “man of the hour” John Anthony Amores could still possibly dribble and shoot even though he’s been bounced from the collegiate league.
“It’s in my blood as a true competitor, the game is always in me,” the 5-foot-11 Helterbrand told BusinessMirror during the media launch of the Pilipinas Super League Pro Division second conference Dumper Cup that starts Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Helterbrand, 46, retired in 2017 after playing 17 seasons in a Gin King uniform in the Philippine Basketball Association. The PBA’s 2009 Most Valuable Player dons the Boracay Islanders, one of 14 teams seeing action in the league that sets no rules on eligibility of its players.
The six-time PBA champion Helterbrand has former pros Niño “KG” Canaleta, Bryan Faundo and Marc Cardona.
League Commissioner Jean Marc Pingris, meanwhile, said that the former pros and rising stars from all over the country are expected to provide more excitement in the league, as well as Filipino-foreigners with Philippine passport.
Pingris also welcomed Amores, the controversial former Jose Rizal University player who was involved in numerous rough plays and fights in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“Everybody deserves a second chance and nobody is perfect,” Pingris said. “John Amores is welcomed here as long as he can secure a GAB [Games and Amusements Board] license.”
PSL President Rocky Chan, on the other hand, told the press conference in a Greenhills restaurant that the relaxed health protocols prompted the league to hold games in Luzon.
“We started with the first conference in a bubble in Zamboanga with the teams staying there for almost two months,” said Chan. “This time around, with the protocols loosened, we’ll do it in Luzon so the games will be moving to different places.”
John Wilson will lead defending champion Davao Occidental’s campaign against Koponan Lakan, Manila Citystars, Bicol Spicy Oragon, Batang Kankaloo, Nueva Ecija Slashers, Cagayan De Oro-PSP, Quezon City Beacons, Sta. Rosa City Lions, ARS Warriors, Muntinlupa, Pampanga Royce and Pampanga Giant Lanterns.
League CEO and Santa Maria (Davao Occidental) Mayor Claude Benjamin “Dinko” Bautista II and vice president Ray Alao also graced the press conference.
After a single-round elimination, with the top four teams will earn twice-to-beat incentives in the quarterfinals with the crossover semifinals a best-of-three affair. The finals will be race-to-two wins set February next year.
The opening games pit Davao Occidental against Boracay at 6 p.m. and Santa Rosa against Cagayan de Oro City at 8 p.m.