Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

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Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:13 pm

Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

InterAksyon.com/Justin Gener
On Tuesday, April 1, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel basketball franchise turns 35 years old. The second-oldest team in the league today, Ginebra has evolved from an unheralded yet scrappy team to the country’s most popular ballclub.
The team was formed in 1979 to become part of the fifth season of the PBA.
The franchise was an underdog from the very start. The new squad didn’t have the luxury of picking players from other teams in an expansion draft or the privilege of directly elevating marquee players from the Manila Industrial Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA), the top amateur commercial league at the time.
Instead, the team was formed by getting a bunch of discards from other pro teams and amateur standouts who didn’t make the national team.
They couldn’t even form a 12-man unit to start of the season, settling for 10 players instead. The team was led by 1976 Rookie of the Year Gil Cortez along with veterans Luke Dacula, Roel Deles, Porfirio Rodriguez, Ulysses Rodriguez and Norby Rivera. Bien Dela Cruz, Ernie De Leon, Ric Mallari and Jess Martin joined the team from the MICAA while Crispa discards Willie Tanduyan and Armando Torres later joined the team.
The ragtag team was mired in mediocrity until the arrival of Toyota superstars Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz in 1984. A year after that, Jaworski had taken the reins as playing-coach of the squad from Turo Valenzona.
By 1986, under Jaworski’s leadership, Ginebra had emerged as the most popular team in the league. It’s a status the franchise enjoys until today, some 15 years after Jaworski left the team to pursue a political career.
Through the years, fans have stuck with Ginebra through thick and thin, from the era of Jaworski to the time of Mark Caguioa. But with the Gin Kings mired in a six-year championship drought, what lessons can history teach Ginebra — and their legion of fans?
Coach Jaworski in total control

During the Big J era, Ginebra was different from other teams because no other management gave so much control and latitude when it came to basketball decisions compared to what Jaworski enjoyed.
Back then, Jaworski had the final say for every personnel decision. Players had to fit the Jaworski mold of toughness, mental fortitude, and no-nonsense basketball.
There were no prima donnas in any Big J team, just as there were no superstars in their lineups — except perhaps for Jaworski himself.
When Jaworski spoke in the huddle, everyone remained quiet and simply listened to his instructions.
Dante Gonzalgo learned this the hard way during one televised huddle. The Bicolano guard spoke up during a timeout, only to be swatted down by Jaworski. “Hindi, hindi, ano ba, makinig ka nga!”
The old Ginebra way is in stark contrast to what fans saw during the Manila Clasico semifinals series in the Philippine Cup. During the Gin Kings’ huddle, at least three different people spoke up, giving three different instructions.
The team seems to have made an adjustment by giving assistant coach Juno Sauler control of the drawing board in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup. But that has come with its own set of problems, as fans wonder: Who is really coaching Ginebra?
In the last four years, Ginebra has had four different head coaches — Jong Uichico, Siot Tanquingcen, Alfrancis Chua, and Ato Agustin — with Sauler also thrown into the mix. The coaching carousel has led to instability within the team.
Again, this is in contrast to the Jaworski era, when the Big J had complete control of Ginebra as head coach for 13 years.
No superstar budget, no problem

In Jaworski’s time, it was common knowledge that he was working under a limited budget for Ginebra. In fact, in 1992, Ginebra stars Rudy Distrito, Leo Isaac, and Rey Cuenco left the team for greener pastures.
“Tama na muna ang palakpak,” said Rudy Distrito, who transferred to a Swift Hotdogs squad coached by a young Yeng Guiao. “Kailangan din kumita.”
Meanwhile, young prospects like Romy dela Rosa in 1989 and Victor Pablo in 1993, meanwhile, openly refused to play for Ginebra because the team offered low salaries.
But then, not having the budget to pay for superstar contracts was fine by Jaworski. In fact, he preferred to bring in underdogs, not thinking twice about letting players go if they wanted to leave Ginebra for better pay.
Under Jaworski, players like Distrito, Romy Mamaril, Philip Cezar, Freddie Hubalde, Sonny Cabatu, and Terry Saldaña, among others, got a second lease of life after Ginebra signed them as free agents. Infused with the “Never Say Die” spirit, their careers rebounded under Jaworski’s tutelage. Playing for Ginebra meant working harder not just to stay in the league longer but for the fans to keep the faith.
They were far from being stars, but for Jaworski, the most important thing was players giving their all for the sake of the team and not for the money.
These days, the Gin Kings are certainly no underdogs when it comes to talent. Under the San Miguel Corporation umbrella, the team can afford to make trades for one star player after another.
This has allowed Ginebra to become a perennial contender at the start of every conference. But while there’s more talent, they’re cut from a different mold from the players in the Jaworski era.
Today, when Mark Caguioa complains about his team’s lack of passion when playing, Ginebra fans can’t help but look back during the days when Big J’s crew would give everything they had, even risking injuries in the process.
An eye for the imports

Some of the most impressive imports in PBA history — Billy Ray Bates, Michael Hackett, Carlos Briggs, Joe Ward, Wes Matthews, Henry James, Chris King, Steve Hood, Mitchell Wiggins, Jamie Waller — played for Ginebra under Jaworski.
The coach developed a relationship with renowned agent Sam Unera to bring in imports exclusively for Ginebra. It was a fruitful relationship that yielded several Best Import winners for Ginebra, turning the team into championship contenders despite a less-talented local lineup.
Jaworski had a great eye for talent when it comes to imports, but he was also unsparing if the reinforcement did not live up to par. He shipped out guys like Harold Driver and Carlton McKinney after a game or two when he felt they couldn’t take them far. He even replaced an import, Fred Cofield, in Game Three of the 1996 Governors’ Cup finals and replaced him with Derek Rucker.
Over the past years, Ginebra has had its fair share of talented imports such as Chris Porter, Torraye Braggs, and Chris Alexander, to name a few.
But for the most part, the choices for imports of Ginebra in recent years have paled in comparison to the gold standard of the Jaworski years.
Jaworski had a clear idea of what his teams needed out of their import — something that may not always be the case with the current Ginebra brain trust.
For example, import Leon Rodgers played six games for the team in the current conference, as the team stumbled to a 2-4 record. As early as the team’s third game, many fans already began clamoring for Rodgers’ replacement.
It took a while before those in charge of Ginebra today to finally appreciate what their fans already knew — that Rodgers was not the right fit for them.
Unconditional fan support

Despite Jaworski’s magic, the lack of talent often hurt Ginebra’s chances, especially in the ’90s. After a successful run from 1985 to 1991 that saw the franchise win three championships and finish runner-up four other times, Ginebra’s struggles began.
Ginebra was the worst team in the PBA in 1993 and 1994, and was second-worst in 1992 and 1994.
Despite the poor showing, there was no question about Ginebra’s popularity. The fans were still around, backing their team 100 percent.
In 1996, Gary Granada penned a pair of songs about the team — “Kapag Natatalo ang Ginebra” and “Kapag Nananalo ang Ginebra”. The tunes celebrated the team’s fans, who remained loyal in both victory and defeat.
Fittingly, that season, with the entry of star rookies Marlou Aquino and Bal David, Ginebra was back in the title picture. The following year, Granada had the privilege of writing “Nang Maging Champion Ang Ginebra” — a fitting tribute to fans who remained with the team through its many struggles, until they became champions once more.
These days, you’ve got to wonder if Ginebra fans could still show the same amount of resilience and loyalty. Despite the team’s long title drought, Ginebra has not bottomed out like it did in the mid-’90s.
And yet, you hear of fans threatening to boycott the team unless changes are made, we see supporters leaving the coliseum with five minutes left in the game and Ginebra trailing by twin-digits, and we read them whine in the feedback sections of various web forums expressing exasperation about their team.
The pain of losing remains, sure, but it’s shocking to see how many fair-weather fans there are on the Ginebra bandwagon these days.
Is Jaworski the answer?

InterAksyon.com/Justin Gener
It’s hard to blame some fans if they pine for Jaworski to come back to the team, whether as coach or team manager.
Philippine basketball’s Living Legend can still inject that same Ginebra firebrand “Never Say Die” attitude into the present crop of players — just like he did during Game Six of the semis last conference, when his halftime speech fired up Ginebra to rally past the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.
Fans long for Jaworski’s discipline and his dedication to the game — and they want to see Ginebra players displaying these as well.
As Ginebra celebrates its 35th year, a burning birthday wish for the Ginebra fan is to have the Big J back — or at least, to have a team they can cheer for that’s not built on talent and money, but instead on “spit, guts, and Jaworski pride!”

Source: Interaksyon.com

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Re: Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

Post by MR. FAST on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:16 pm

Basta pag si JAWO bumalik sa Ginebra sigurado malaki ang magbabago sa Ginebra. sana talaga makabalik sha..

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Re: Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

Post by garrett_jax on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:18 pm

NOON...........
"When Jaworski spoke in the huddle, everyone remained quiet and simply listened to his instructions.

Dante Gonzalgo learned this the hard way during one televised huddle. The Bicolano guard spoke up during a timeout, only to be swatted down by Jaworski. “Hindi, hindi, ano ba, makinig ka nga!”

NGAYON.............

"during the Manila Clasico semifinals series in the Philippine Cup. During the Gin Kings’ huddle, at least three different people spoke up, giving three different instructions."


....... AHAHAHHA, ang laki ng pinag kaiba ...........

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Re: Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

Post by MR. FAST on Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:26 am

^subukan nilang umepal pag si coach JAWO na ang nag cocoach baka makarinig sila ng " MAUPO KA NA LANG AT WAG MO KONG SABAYAN" LOL

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Re: Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

Post by garrett_jax on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:30 am

siguro walang eepal na, kahit sina chualay at non, ayaw nilang mapahiya ............ hahahah

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Re: Ginebra turns 35 years old: Lessons from the past for the PBA’s struggling crowd darlings

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