LAS VEGAS – It took a Manny Pacquiao and boxing’s richest fight ever to reunite one of the most popular coaching partnership in Philippine basketball.
Living Legend Robert Jaworski Sr. hooked up with longtime former deputy Rino Salazar at the Mandalay Bay Delano hotel here, the two spending time to look back at the past while planning for the future even for a brief moment during a chance encounter on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
Jaworski and Salazar, whose coaching collaboration produced three championships and made Ginebra a byword in local basketball, are both in town to witness the biggest event in boxing history this weekend when Pacquiao battles Floyd Mayweather in a welterweight title unification match.
It was the first meeting between the former Toyota teammates and coaching partners in the last five years.
More than Pacquiao and Mayweather, basketball naturally, dominated their brief talk at the Strip Stake restaurant inside the Mandalay Bay.
“Sabi ko, ‘Sonny, di mo pa kunin uli 'yung Ginebra,” said Salazar, admitting both of them are still updated on the latest struggles of the very same franchise they helped become the most popular in PBA history.
“Ako naman naghihintay lang,” added the former champion coach out of Letran, who’s long been based in Alaska along with wife Rose Salazar, although two of their children both reside in the 'Sin City.'
Jaworski was with long-trusted aide Rellie De Leon when they stepped out of a Thai noodle restaurant and chanced upon a group of Manila-based scribes, who were on their way to meet Salazar and his wife over dinner.
Informed by sportswriters about their scheduled get-together with Salazar, Jaworski lost no time to join the group and hook up with his former trusted deputy.
The meeting was brief, but warm and cordial.
The two later had their photo taken together before Jaworski left.