LEO Austria got some flattering words from no less than his ‘idol’ after San Miguel leveled the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra at 1-1 on Sunday night.
The Beermen coach crossed paths with basketball legend Robert Jaworski Sr. just as the former Ginebra playing-coach headed out of the Smart Araneta Coliseum minutes after the reigning champions scored a 134-109 blowout of the Kings in Game Two.
The two shook hands and whispered pleasantries to each other before tapping each other on the shoulders and finally parting ways.
And so what did the Big J and father of Ginebra’s Never-Say-Die spirit tell him?
“Sabi niya lang sa akin very good adjustment,” said the three-time PBA Press Corps Coach of the Year. “He saw the big adjustment na ginawa ko daw (for Game 2)."
The charismatic former senator was at ringside to show support anew to his former team, which unfortunately, never led and trailed by as many as 31 points (77-46).
The 72-year-old Jaworski skipped visiting the Kings in their dugout for his usual pep talk either at halftime or after the game as he regularly did whenever he watched Ginebra games live at the venue.
That’s why Austria was so delighted having a brief, post-game chat with the legend.
“Sabi ko sa kanya ‘Idol,’ dahil ever since naman nanonood pa ako sa probinsiya, Jaworski na yun,” said the multi-titled mentor.
“Yung town namin (Sariaya, Quezon), Toyota country yun,” added a proud Austria, referring to Jaworski’s original PBA team.
Ironically, Austria entered the league in 1985 when he won Rookie of the Year honor at about the same time Jaworski began his coaching career with Ginebra
Austria added Jaworski even joked, ‘Biniro mo lang yata sila e,” in reference to the Beermen’s 127-99 loss in Game 1.
“Sabi ko hindi naman. Talagang maganda yung laro ng Ginebra nun. May gulpi de gulat din sila,” said the 60-year-old mentor.