On 70th birthday, legend Robert Jaworski urges Gilas to 'make history' in qualifiers
Basketball legend Robert Jaworski has some words of wisdom for Gilas Pilipinas on the day he turned 70. Jerome Ascano

EVEN as he turned 70, the never-say-die spirit hasn’t waned for 'Living Legend' Robert Jaworski Sr.

The Big J urged Gilas Pilipinas players to give their all when they go for a berth in the Rio De Janeiro Summer Games before home fans during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila this July.

The man behind Ginebra’s NSD legacy stressed playing for an Olympic slot right at home is a rare opportunity that every athlete should embrace, adding the quadrennial Games is ‘the most followed human activity by all nations.’

“The pride that it brings, iba eh,” said Jaworski, who turned another leaf on Tuesday. “Kaya ibigay ninyo na ang lahat.”

“Marami ang makakaalala sa inyo na naglaro kayo ng basketball pero siguro mas maalala nila nung national team kayo. At least ‘national’ yan, ang ibig sabhin ni-rerepresent nyo yung lahi nyo. Pilipino ako ... eto po ipaglalaban ko ng maayos,” he said in reference to the current Gilas team preparing for the July 5-10 qualifier at the Mall of Asia Arena

Jaworski definitely knows whereof he speaks.

He was a many-time member of the national team and part of the Philippine squad that played in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Jaworski also suited up for the last all-Filipino national side to win the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in 1973 in Manila that earned the country a stint in the 1974 Fiba World Cup in Puerto Rico.

“If ever you’re given the opportunity to play for the country, grab it. It’s something that you’ll forever be part of history,” he said.

Most especially if an Olympic berth is on the line.

“E, hindi lang naman typical ang history ng Olympics. Mas matanda pa sa United Nations ito,” said the barreling big guard out of University of the East.

“At tsaka mas masarap yung lahat ng nakatingin sa yo nagdadasal at pumapalakpak.”

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