EVEN in retirement, the ‘Living Legend’ Robert Jaworski Sr. continues to play a significant role in the basketball career of Chito Loyzaga.
The burly power-forward who once typified Ginebra’s physical and no-nonsense defense during the Jaworski era, has been named among the 40 Greatest Players in PBA history which will be honored as the league celebrates its four decades of existence in April of next year.
And no less than the Big J himself had a hand in it.
Sources asked by Spin.ph revealed Jaworski was among those who actively pushed for Loyzaga’s inclusion in the elite list, truly convinced the eldest of two playing sons of the legendary Caloy Loyzaga is deserving to be lined up among the greatest to have played in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
Jaworski was among the members of the search committee that decided the 15 individuals to be added to the original 25 Greatest Players selection earlier made when the league celebrated its silver anniversary in 2000.
The 56-year-old Loyzaga said he’s grateful to his former playing-coach for the trust he’s given him all throughout this years.
“Having played with him for the most number of years in my basketball career, through our triumphs and defeats, he had played an important role in the success of my PBA career,” said Loyzaga, who won three championships during his stint with Ginebra from 1986 to 1993.
Jaworski had so much faith in Loyzaga’s ability that he was not only Ginebra’s team captain during the Big J’s days as playing-coach, but was likewise tapped by the popular basketball figure to be a part of the first ever all-pro team that competed in the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.
Jaworski called the shots for that pioneering team which won the Asiad silver behind China.
Being part of the first batch of PBA players to suit up for the national team made Loyzaga truly proud, but more so now that he’s being considered among the greatest to have seen action in the 40-year-old league.
“It is a great honor and privilege for me to be chosen as one of the members of the distinguished batch of PBA legends. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the nomination committee for the recognition of my contributions to the league,” said Loyzaga, who also served as commissioner of the PSC shortly upon retiring as a player.
He also served as commissioner of the UAAP in 2013.
“And most of all, to the fans and supporters who have been with me throughout my entire PBA career. You were the reason and the inspiration that made us play our best every game. I wish to share this award with all of you. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.”