Retired cager Robert Jaworski was at first in a state of disbelief.
This was after being told that fans still remember Ginebra San Miguel’s semifinal game in the Philippine Basketball Association Reinforced Conference against Northern Cement.
That was back in 1985 when the Gin Kings won over the NCC, 99-96.
“It seems unbelievable. But we’re happy the way things have shaped up. I’m very happy for the ‘never-say-die spirit,’ which is the key to everything. And it’s for something good,” said Jaworski, now 73, after he was honored with four other Ginebra players last Thursday.
Jaworski, along with Scottie Thompson, Justine Brownlee, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand, were feted during the launch of limited edition jerseys that the team will wear during the 2019 PBA Commissioners Cup.
It will be recalled that back in October 22, 1985, and during a game against NCC, Jaworski was elbowed on the face by NCC cager Jeff Moore late in the second quarter.
Jaworski had to be brought to nearby Medical City’s emergency room to get stitches on his upper lip.
During the third quarter, and with NCC leading, Jaworski returned to the bench.
Jaworski then reentered the court and sparked the team to a big rally, leading the Gins to a come-from-behind victory against NCC, who were ahead by 15 points going into the final seven minutes of the game.
From then on, Jaworski and Ginebra were remembered for their never-say-die attitude.
“I left my teammates who were doing everything to win. And yes, I did have a bad cut. But all the while, I was thinking, how can I get back? And you know, you have to try your best. But, obviously towards the end, after you’ve tried your best, you got to also pray,” added Jaworski.
During the presentation, Jaworski unveiled a red jersey bearing the slogan, “Ginebra Ako,” under his maong jacket. The jersey bore his number 7 on it.
Thompson, Brownlee, Caguioa and Helterbrand wore light colored uniforms. They joined the presentation with Ginebra executives Ronald Molina and Allan Mercado.
The company went on to unveil their jersey collection, which featured the uniforms of all five players.