Jaworski Thanks ‘Baby’, Players, Fans

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Jaworski Thanks ‘Baby’, Players, Fans

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:11 am

Jaworski Thanks ‘Baby’, Players, Fans

July 8, 2012, 10:32pm

THE 'NEVER SAY DIE ATTITUDE' LIVES ON! PBA's "Living Legend" Robert Jaworski and Ginebra's Mark Caguioa make a cermonial touching of fists during the Big-J's retirement ceremony at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. — Photo by Bob Dungo Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The multitude of fans – around 18,000 of them – came in droves to witness one historic moment in the life of Robert Jaworski on Sunday.

As expected, chants of “Jawoski!, Jaworski” were as strong and animated as before – proving his mystique and charisma are still very intact.

In a moving tribute to the man they called “The Living Legend”, Jaworski’s iconic No. 7 Ginebra jersey was formally retired in front of his family, former players, officials of the league and rabid loyalists.

The fans, including the young ones – perhaps most of them were not yet born when Jaworski was still playing – rose and applauded as one when a replica banner bearing his No. 7 was unveiled at the rafter of the Araneta Coliseum.

During the rendition of his favorite song, Winners (by Frank Sinatra), Jaworski took off his glasses on several occasions and appeared to wipe off tears.

“Sinira n’yo pagka-macho ko. Napaiyak ako e,” Jaworski, 66, told roaring fans. “I may be retiring my jersey, but my passion for the sport and the people will remain forever.” he said.

Aside from the plaque of appreciation from the league, Jaworski was presented by a basketball by the present Ginebra players, led by Mark Caguioa, who posed proudly with his idol afterwards.

The retirement ceremony came 15 years after Ginebra’s celebrated player-coach, then 51, last played for the well-loved team in a Game 6 loss to Purefoods in the 1997 All-Filipino Conference Finals.

Jaworski, who won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1978, joined Ginebra (then known as Gilbey’s Gin) back in 1983 following the disbandment of Toyota with his best buddy Francis Arnaiz. He won his first title with the team in 1986 Open Conference versus Manila Beer.

As usual, Jaworski was in his jovial mood, thanking everybody who helped bring his career to the zenith of success.

But the first person he thanked for was no less than his first collegiate coach – Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan – at University of the East,

According to Jaworski, he learned so many tricks from Dalupan and it was him who inspired him to become a coach.

Last week, when Dalupan was honored by UE, Jaworski braved the rains to be with his beloved collegiate coach.

Aside from Dalupan, Jaworski also expressed his gratitude to current San Miguel Corporation’s top honcho Ramon S. Ang and former big boss Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.

Others who paid tribute to Jaworski were Francis Arnaiz, his long-time buddy – even during his Toyota days, his son and namesake Robert `Dudut’ Jaworski Jr., brother-in-law Senator Bong Revilla Jr.

Jaworski’s exploits off and on court were likewise extolled by Commissioner Chito Salud.

Dante Silverio, Jaworski’s coach at Toyota, also came along with former Ginebra stars like Bad David, Noli Locsin, Marlou Aquino, Vince Hizon, Pido Jarencio, Romulo Mamaril, Wilmer Ong,

Replica jerseys and Ginebra basketballs will also given to lucky fans.

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