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As "Mr. Fast" Helterbrand retires, what will "Mr. Furious" Caguioa miss in their tandem?

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--The end of an era beckons.

Jay-Jay Helterbrand officially retired from the PBA through a nationally-televised interview with sportscaster Andrei Felix on Monday.

Right beside him in that interview, however, was his the other half of the so-called "Fast and the Furious", Mark Caguioa, who actually told Helterbrand before he dropped the retirement bomb, "Don't tell me you're gonna announce it."

Later in the day, during Ginebra's victory party at the San Miguel Corporation office, "Mr. Furious" chatted with Dugout Philippines about what he will miss from "Mr. Fast".

"The thing I'm gonna miss about is our friendship," said "The Spark".

Caguioa, the third pick of the 2001 PBA Draft and the Rookie of the Year of the same season, has built a long-term friendship with Helterbrand, who was drafted the year earlier through direct hiring, especially that they stayed with the Barangay all throughout their PBA careers.

Formerly known as the "Bandana Brothers" because they wore headbands, their backcourt tandem eventually got its current moniker, an ode to the movie franchise of the same title, because of their explosiveness.

"We have so much memories together. For us, everything is new. We just live in the moment," Caguioa recalled.

Now that their 16-year basketball partnership that netted six PBA titles comes to an end, Caguioa said that the off-court friendship with Helterbrand will still be there.

"Even though he retired, we're still gonna be talking to each other. The only difference is that he's not gonna be by my side during practices or games," Caguioa further said. "Now, it's only 'The Furious'. 'The Fast' is gone."

Despite Helterbrand's departure, the Barangay's guard rotation remains loaded with LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and Scottie Thompson still manning the point guard and the combo guard spots and first round pick Jett Manuel joining the fray next season.

But for Caguioa, he would rather see them etching their own story.

"You can't really compare [them with Jay-Jay]. They're all gonna have their own style. Their playmaking will come," he said.

But the veteran scoring machine has a challenge to Ginebra's current guard crop: "One thing that I really want them to be is to be more humble and be really nice to the fans."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno