Robert “Sonny” Jaworski will be next Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner, and will replace Chito Salud who will be resigning at the end of the season. Jawo, as he also known, accepted the position to lead the country’s professional basketball league after Ramon Fernandez declined the offer.
“It’s a big challenge for anyone who will be given the opportunity to be part of this very prestigious and worthy endeavor considering that not only is he a prime mover of basketball, but also a prime mover in physical conditioning.” Jawo said, a day before he was chosen by the new PBA commissioner.
“If it is offered to me, indeed, I will politely decline. I have done my share for basketball and I feel like there’s more to life than just basketball.” Fernandez said, who won the PBA MVP award four times. He became the commissioner of the defunct basketball league, MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association).
The 69-year old former playing-coach of Ginebra San Miguel received a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night this Monday. He told reporters that he was surprised to hear that Salud has announced his resignation last Sunday via a press conference.
Dubbed as the “Living Legend” of the PBA, Jaworski is probably the most popular PBA player in the Philippines. Even before the PBA was born in 1975, Jawo played for YCO, Meralco, and eventually played in the MICAA (Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association) in 1970.
Jaworski played for Toyota from 1975 to 1983, when the team was dissolved. During this era, the Toyota-Crispa rivalry was a big success. In 1997, Jaworski played his last PBA game at the age of 50 and is currently the oldest player ever to play in the PBA. He is also a former senator of the Philippines.
As a senator, Jaworski co-authored the Clean Air Act and the Solid Waste Management Act and established some places in the Philippines as protected areas. This includes Mt. Kitanglad Range in Bukidnon, Northern Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Isabela, and the Batanes Group of Islands.
Meanwhile, other contenders for the PBA commissioner position were Chito Loyzaga, JB Baylon, Lito Alvarez, and Ramon Fernandez. Being known as “El Presidente,” Fernandez has been a long-time team mate of Jaworski during the Toyota era. He and Jaworski had a feud but eventually reconciled in 1989.
Their reconciliation happened during the All Star Game – Veterans vs Rookies and Sophomore team. The Veterans won, 132-130, after Jaworski passed the ball to Fernandez who made his ever-famous “elegant” shot to win the game. The late Crispa coach Baby Dalupan encouraged them to shake hands.
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