UNIVERSITY of the East great Robert Jaworski is among those being eyed to become the commissioner of UAAP Season 77 basketball tournament which is set to open on July 12 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Incoming UAAP secretary treasurer Rod Roque said Jaworski, a UE product and widely regarded as the most popular basketball name in the country, is one of 12 candidates being considered to run the basketball tournament when UE hosts Season 77 of the country’s premier collegiate league.
Unlike in most commercial leagues like the PBA, the UAAP basketball commissioner is being appointed on a yearly basis by the host school.
“Naghahanap pa kami,” said Roque when asked by reporters if a commissioner for the seniors, juniors, and women’s basketball tournament have been selected. “Labing-dalawa ‘yung nasa list. Isho-short list namin. ‘Yung management ang mag-dedecide.”
One of those on the list is Jaworski, who led the Red Warriors to the 1966 and 1967 UAAP championship before carving his niche in cage history with his stints with Meralco, Toyota and Ginebra in the PBA as well as with the national team, both as player and coach.
Also being considered by UE, Roque said, are three men who have acted as commissioners in different leagues -Joe Lipa (UAAP/NCAA), former San Miguel official Noli Eala (PBA), and sportscaster Chino Trinidad (PBL).
UE assistant coach Bai Cristobal, Barako Bull coach and UE consultant Bong Ramos, and former PBA cager and referee Tito Varela are also part of the school’s wishlist.
The biggest name on the list is Jaworski, who, if he accepts, will hold a position in basketball for the first time since he left Ginebra in 1999.
Chito Loyzaga was the commissioner of the Season 76 basketball tournament. He made controversial decisions that went against UE last season, including suspensions on Charles Mammie, among others.
Roque, however, admitted that they have yet to speak with Jaworski the job.
“Hindi pa namin nakakausap. Pero kino-consider siya ng school,” said Roque of Jaworski, who even became a Senator at the end of his playing and coaching career.
In the case of Cristobal and Ramos who holds positions with the UE basketball team, Roque said it was not the decision of the school to include them as possible candidates for the commissionership.
“Hindi kami ang may gusto noon. Suggestion din ‘yun ng ibang school … Identified nga sila sa Warriors. Kasama sila sa list pero hindi ibig sabihin na sila lang,” said Roque.