PBA: Caguioa, Helterbrand share fond memories of 'Mang Jun'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2020 10:28 PM

Barangay Ginebra players Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Jayjay Helterbrand shared stories about the team's beloved "Mang Jun", who passed away last week.

Jun, whose real name is Raphael Vicera, was a fixture on the team as the players' masseur and ball boy. 

He was part of the team staff for 37 years.

"The thing with Mang Jun, he's got magic hands or something," said Helterbrand, who now plays for Imus in the MPBL, in an interview with ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo.

"In my rookie season until the middle part of my career he was just there for me for jokes. Once I got older in my career, everyday he would massage me every single morning.

"That's the reason why I was able to play a little longer than I anticipated."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For the people that doesn't know Mang Jun he is a legend and one of the most important key members of the team. You have Coach Sonny and this guy Mang Jun. He is always there when you need him. If you're injured or you need a massage Mang Jun can do this for hours while telling you jokes. You can tell he loves working for Ginebra. If he thinks you're sick he will give you hot water in a bottle with vicks vapor rub inside and tell you to sniff it and it will clear your blocked nose (jokoy) I was like wtf is this Mang Jun 😂😂😂 and it worked. From then on I started doing it because of him. Kidding aside we will all miss you and I'm sure the old school fans and old school players will miss you too. My heart truly goes out to the Vicera family. Rest in peace we love you Mang Jun 🙏🙏🙏

A post shared by Mark Caguioa (@47markcaguioa) on

Caguioa said Vicera treated the Ginebra players like his kids, adding that he massaged a lot better than professionals.

"He would know that spot, he'll massage it for hours until you say stop or it gets better," said Caguioa. "He's more experienced than people who went to school for it."

"The way he was treating us, we were one of his kids. He really cared for you . . . Treating us like we were his kids. It's a different feeling."

For Tenorio, he always remembered Vicera for the light moments. 

"Meron siyang mga side jokes na bigla niyang sasabihin, matatawa ka na lang. Kahit korni, nakakatawa lang kung paano ideliver ang joke," said Tenorio.

"Not only with the players, siya 'yung nagpapatawa sa ibang ball boys."

Helterbrand said Vicera was their connection to the Ginebra of old.

"He would always do what he was asked to do with a smile on his face and with stories from the past during Jaworski's time," said Helterbrand.

Vicera died due to complication caused by diabetes.

Ginebra head coach Tim Cone has said Vicera was his link to the team's "great past."

"Just heard the news of the passing of Mang Jun. He was really loved by the players and the organization, and he was my connection to the great Ginebra past. We all will miss him dearly," said Cone.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.