NO less than the son of the legend behind the Barangay Ginebra legacy believes the ‘never-say-die’ spirit which the franchise has long been associated with is not yet dead.
All it takes is for today’s generation of Ginebra players to set aside their egos and play together with urgency.
“Never-say-die (spirit) is gone? No naman. I don’t think it’s gone, but it has to be awakened,” said Jaworski Jr. in an interview with Spin.ph. “It’s definitely taken a leave right now. It (team) has to be reunited.”
“They need to settle even the smallest indifferences within the team, kung meron man. We don’t have to look far, we just have to look at the fans and feel the grief and win for them.”
Ginebra has yet to win a championship since the 2008 PBA Fiesta Conference, while the last time it made the finals came in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Of late, more disappointment are coming the Kings’ way.
Following quick exits in the playoffs the last two conferences that led to the departure of Jeff Cariaso, the team is off to a slow start in the midseason tournament by losing its first two games under new coach Ato Agustin.
[See Dorian Pena vows to bring toughness to Ginebra; 'I will not be papogi']
For someone who's outside looking in, the young Jaworski said the Kings are definitely not playing to their potential.
“Ako naniniwala ako na ang performance ng Ginebra ngayon, hindi ito yung performance ng full potential nila as a team,” he said. “They are capable of performing at a higher level of play compared to what they are showing now.”
Obviously, Dodot can’t help but look back at how past generation of Ginebra players including himself, would play with their hearts under the guidance of his father notwithstanding the absence of a single superstar player in the team.
“Noong araw kasi, yung team namin, patay kung patay eh. You go into the battlefield, 100 percent (focused). You leave everything behind,” he recalled.
“You don’t take anything home, you leave everything on the court, you only go home with dirty clothes.”
Jaworski said he can only commiserate with the legion of Ginebra fans.
“As for the problems they are encountering, all of the players, they have to dig deep down to identify and find solutions to what is happening and weigh their own performances. They’re the best judge eh.
“I’m sure at this point, they’re not happy and they’re the first to be disappointed,” he said.
Taking a glance at today’s Ginebra lineup, Jaworski said the Kings definitely boast of one of the most formidable rosters in the league with the presence of big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, guards LA Tenorio, Chris Ellis, Joseph Yeo, and Mac Baracael, plus the veteran duo of Mark Caguioa and JayJay Helterbrand.
“Ang lakas ng lineup ng Ginebra, kumpleto ang team eh. Are they showing what they are contributing right now?” Jaworski Jr. asked.
“There has to be a better cohesion and collusion amongst the members of the team and the coaching staff also kasi the team has a lot of talent individually,” added the former Pasig City congressman.
That’s the reason why the young Jaworski is encouraging the players to put their personal agendas behind and focus on how they can work for the good of the team especially for the fans.
“I don’t think it’s the lack of willingness in them to sacrifice. It goes beyond what your own capacities are. I think it will be nice for everyone who is part of this organization, to take a minute to step back and not only think about what they can do individually, but think at how they can work together as a team.
“Use the fans as the inspiration, use the fans as your biggest motivational factor on why you should perform at a level greater than what was expected of you,” he added.
[See Chito Loyzaga on Ginebra then and now: 'We played our hearts out for the fans']
At the same time, Jaworski Jr. expressed the belief that his father could be a great influence to today’s generation of Ginebra players.
“At the end of the day we can only wish and support for him to go back. It’s also up to the management to decide that. Syempre, kasama ako sa mga nangangarap na mapanood ulit ang idol nating lahat sa PBA,” he said.
“It’s about time? Siguro, for me yung puso naman ng tatay ko, talagang Ginebra 'yan. Kung may kakatok lang ng maayos dyan, I am sure he’ll be willing to lend a hand,” added Dodot. “I am one with the millions of fans out there who are sad as the team is not able to perform. Masakit eh.”
If and when Ginebra’s current state continues, Jaworski Jr. didn’t hesitate to volunteer his father’s help and guidance.
“Ang kailangan talaga ang fighting spirit ng Big J, yan ang kailangan,” he stressed.
“For whatever purpose it may serve, I’m sure that his wisdom if shared with the members of the team and the members of the coaching staff will be a big boost, I believe,” said Jaworski Jr.