FOR the second straight time, Robert Jaworski Sr. let Barangay Ginebra on its own and didn’t deliver his traditional halftime pep talk for the embattled Kings during Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals Saturday at the Astrodome.
Just like he did at the Mall of Asia Arena in Game Four of the series, the 72-year-old basketball icon spent the entire break accommodating fans for photo ops and autograph signing.
The game was tied at the half, 55-all, as the Beermen – who leads the best-of-seven affair, 3-1 – battled their way back from as much as a 39-27 deficit early in the second period.
But make no mistake, Jaworski said he came over to show support to his beloved ballclub.
“We have to show support to my team and of course the basketball fans,” he said. “Both teams played well, but hopefully, Ginebra wins.”
At the same time, the precursor of Ginebra’s never-say-die battle-cry was nostalgic as he returned to the same Pasay venue which had been part of his many memorable battles with the Kings.
It was at the Astrodome where the Big J won the last of his five championships as Ginebra playing coach, beating Alaska, in Game Six to bag the 1997 PBA Commissioners Cup crown. The Aces were then still handled by Tim Cone, now coach of Ginebra.
“Being back in the same place gave him the itch of playing once again, joked the ‘Living Legend.’
“Gusto ko na ngang maghubad para maglaro kaya lang wala baka lang madulas,” he said. “Wala akong dalang goma (sneakers).”