by TITO S. TALAO
Manila, Philippines – SO they’ve finally convinced Robert Jaworski to approve a special tribute honoring his immeasurable contribution to the Philippine Basketball Association.
I say it’s long time coming though by nobody’s fault: Jaworski’s green light is needed before the PBA can move, and man himself must have waited for the most opportune time to officially say goodbye.
That moment has come.
Got an email from a TV5 executive requesting pictures of the Big J which will be included in a photo exhibit during the event set on May 27 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
I hope the group behind the affair would be able to stir up ageless memories among PBA diehards to ensure a sold-out evening.
Of all his past teammates, Ramon Fernandez, with whom he had famously warred with, has to be there. And so with Fortunato Co and Philip Cezar, his bitter rivals from the Crispa-Toyota days.
Dante Silverio, his former Toyota coach, could be persuaded to say a few words as well as former PBA deputy commissioner, Grand Slam coach and now amateur golf president Tommy Manotoc, who uttered the unforgettable “one step backward, two steps forward“ line in 1980 as U/Tex mentor in the finals against Jaworski’s team.
And, of course, if his health permits, the legendary Baby Dalupan, who got Jaworski to play for University of the East and thus started off his legend.
Jaworski deserves no less.
There was a time when I would readily say “all roads lead to the Big Dome two Sundays from now.“ But nearly two decades of absence is a long time.
Inviting to the event all players who have donned Ginebra San Miguel colors, past and present, could be a good idea therefore.
And can anybody find a way to request former Ginebra team owner Carlos `Honey Boy’ Palanca, long-time company president Ber Navarro, and team executive Rep. Henry Cojuangco to take the time to grace the occasion?
Oh, and I almost forgot, get the hilarious Jimmy Santos, a Jaworski loyalist, as host.
As for me, I’ve got a black-and-white picture with the Big J during a break in practice. It was taken shortly after he intimated in the Gin Kings dugout that he was running for public office, and many years before he told me, inside his Senate office, that he was resigning as Ginebra coach.
Now if I could only peel off that photo from the old family album.