FONG Seng Kee was a member of the Malaysian national team that took part in the 1973 Asian Basketball Championship (now Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship) which Manila hosted at the Araneta Coliseum.
The former Malaysian national player holds a lot of special memories from that Manila tournament, but the most special was from one Filipino player he has since held in the hightest esteem.
His name? Robert Jaworski.
“He is my favorite player," Fong told Spin.ph, his eyes gleaming with pride. "He's one of the few Asian players I like, the other one is Shin Dong Pa of South Korea.”
Now an official of Malaysian basketball, Fong said he watched in amazement as Jaworski stood out from the rest of the players during the 1973 Asian tournament which the Philippines won.
It also marked the last time an all-Filipino team won the Asian showpiece.
“I still remember him and I will remember him for the rest of my life,” said the 62-year-old Fong on the sidelines of the Penang Chief Minister’s International Cup where Blackwater Sports was the Philippine representative.
“He (Jaworski) was very outstanding, he was so good in ball handling, good at shooting, and defending,” he added.
The former Malaysia point guard recalled how he would take the time to watch the games of the Philippines at the Araneta Coliseum during the 1973 tournament just to see how Jaworski played against his Asian rivals.
“I saw him play many times. Every time he will play, I would see him play. I want to see him play. I love seeing him play,” Fong said.
The Malaysian added that of the hundreds of great players the Philippines produced, it’s only Jaworski that he remembered the most.
Asked if he still remembers the likes of cage great Ramon Fernandez and the sweet-shooting Bogs Adornado, Fong shook his head and said, “No, it’s only Jaworski that I remember.”
Fong claims he still follows the career of the ‘Living legend’ through the internet and considers him as one of the best players to ever come out of the Philippines and the whole of Asia.
“He’s (Jaworski) one of the best players I have ever seen from Asia. He is the best Asian basketball player,” he said. “He deserves his spot as a legend in the Philippines. I wish him the best of luck and good health.”
Fong however, has one regret.
“No, I don’t have a picture with him. It was one of my frustrations. I am still waiting for the chance to have a picture with him,” he said with a smile.
Asked if he thinks Jaworski remembers him, Fong replied, “No, I don’t think so. I am just a nobody.”
Fong currently works as an official in basketball events like the Penang cagefest, where he took pleasure in assisting compatriots of his longtime basketball idol.
At the same time, Fong is very happy the Philippines – which he considers his favorite team - is back as a power in Asian basketball.
“Philippines is my dream team and I am happy that they are back there,” he said.
For video of full interview with Fong, see: