November 6, 2014
Return of the King
Let me first get this out of the way before I write this piece. Starting now, I have decided to write one blog that I will dedicate to Philstar.com, one of the STAR Group of Companies I work for, and Sportsmaryosep, my blog, with hopes of saving time that has become precious when fatherhood embraced every fibre of my soul. After all, a husband and a father is a full-time job.
And since this is my first synchronized blog, I will dedicate this to the one man that woke up my sports consciousness. Robert “Sonny” Jaworski, Sr. The Living Legend. One of the greatest, if not the greatest, Filipino to ever play the game. The same person who invented the phrase “never-say-die.” The ONE and ONLY reason why Ginebra is the MOST popular team in this basketball-crazy nation.
You see, we all saw Jaworski Wednesday night at the MOA Arena where Allen Iverson held his charity event. Big J meets The Answer. It’s like Godzilla meeting King Kong. The giants of the game we all love. It was also there that Jawo was asked by enterprising media men, including hardworking colleague Alder Almo, the question on the possibility of him of accepting the Gilas Pilipinas coaching job if called upon. And, despite the coaching rust spanning about two decades, Jaworski giggled at the thought.
“Why not,” he says.
Why not indeed.
Let us count the ways.
Jaworski as a player is unquestionable. One-time PBA MVP (1978). Six-time PBA Mythical First Team. Two-time PBA Mythical Second Team. Two-time PBA All-Defensive Team. Four-time PBA All-Star. One of the PBA 25 Greatest Players of All Time. PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005. UAAP Most Valuable Player. The only PBA’s whose number is retired. That is why you don’t see any Ginebra player wearing that holy No. 7. Part of the Phl team that won the gold in the 1967 Seoul and 1973 Manila FIBA-Asia Championship and the silver and the bronze in the 1971 Tokyo and 1969 Bangkok tilts. Heck, he played when he was 50 years old.
He has won championships inluding Brgy. Ginebra teams that didn’t look like it will win one (Remember the Romulo Mamaril, Rey Cuenco, Dante Gonzalgo, Chito Loyzaga days?). And as a playing coach? Who could do that?
Are we talking of charisma yet?
Next to Jesus Christ, Jaworski is a god.
Imagine my family.
It’s a sacrilege if, one, you’re not around during rosary time in every Ginebra game, and two, if you’re NOT in the game watching Ginebra. A Ginebra win means one gallon of Magnolia Ice Cream. A loss, on the other hand, felt like there’s a funeral in the house. Deafening silence.
That’s what Jaworski is to us.
Now try to imagine if he coaches Gilas.
Imagine the hysteria, the support only Jaworski can summon. The whole nation, all 108 million of us.
But then again, we leave it to the hands of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, which recently created a search and screening committee to find the person to fill in the vacant Gilas coaching job. They can give it to Tim Cone, a multiple Grand Slam winning coach. Or Tab Baldwin, a former coach of the Jordan national team and consultant to Gilas in the FIBA World Cup in Spain and Incheon Asian Games. Or to Filipino coaches who are equally capable.
Then again, we need a Jaworski. To rally everyone back to Gilas, which had a free-fall of a campaign in Incheon.
JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI! JA-WORS-KI!
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