THE PBA said players of today can learn a thing or two from how cage greats Alvin Patrimonio and Robert Jaworski Sr. treated fans during their heyday.
Commissioner Willie Marcial pointed out Patrimonio, the humble, four-time MVP, and Jaworski, the legendary former Toyota leader and playing-coach of Ginebra, are the epitome of how players should interact with the public.
The two superstars are among the most accommodating players in the past, always finding time to mingle and talk with fans who, he stressed, are the lifeblood of the PBA.
Marcial reminded present-day players to emulate the two Hall of Famers.
“Ang mga players doon naman (fans) nabubuhay. Paano ba sumikat sila Alvin at Senator Jaworski? Yun sana makita ng mga players natin ngayon,” said the newly-appointed commissioner on Wednesday during the Philippine Sports Association (PSA) Association Forum at Tapa King Restaurant in Cubao.
“Kahit abutin ng alas-10 ng gabi pumipirma ang mga yun (for the fans), nangangamusta.”
Marcial admitted luring the interest of the basketball fans – both on the playing venue and television – is one of his immediate priorities since being promoted from officer in charge to full-time commissioner last week.
“Number one talaga gusto kong mapalapit pa tayo lalo sa mga fans. Malaking bagay yun,” he stressed in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Tapa King, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
He said that’s the rationale behind the introduction of the ‘PBA Homecourt,’ where players both active and retired join Marcial and his staff in visiting different barangay courts within Metro Manila unannounced.
“Kaya 'yung mga players sinasabihan ko, 'Puntahan ninyo yung mga fans,'” added the commissioner, who has so far brought along the likes of Arwind Santos, Beau Belga, Rodney Brondial, KG Canaleta, and legends Benjie Paras and Vince Hizon during the first two editions of the novel project.
To be fair to member-ballclubs, Marcial said teams are also encouraging their players to be considerate to PBA fans, especially the Fil-Ams.
“May mga sinabihan na akong Fil-Ams na kamayan o kamustahin 'yung mga fans,” said the former league statistician turned commissioner. “Lapitan ninyo (ang mga fans), kung ayaw ninyong magsalita, kamayan o kawayan ninyo lang.”