The Big J

Lito A. Tacujan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — They come cascading from the nosebleed section of the coliseum into the parquet floor of the court, rolling in uncanny rhythmic cadence with accent on every syllable.

‘’JA-WOR-SKI! JA-WOR-SKI! JA-WOR-SKI!” come the chant from fans ever loyal and faithful to an ailing Robert Jaworski, who celebrated his 77th birthday recently.

And smarting from the first volley of cheers , the fans would come holler back, in full throated blast that even non-believers could only watch in awe.


Looking back one wonders what’s in this team and team captain that made them look like perfect match during their glory years in the PBA , becoming the toast of the entire league?

These all came back like snatches of memory one acquires frame by frame, filling up a reel to some of the highlights of this man’s career that best defined the kind of basketball we all love – rugged, tough, never-say-die.

He embodies all these old-fashioned traits that somehow got adulterated by naturalization and the onset of Fil-Ams with nebulous roots.

No other player has captured the imagination of fans and ballers. He was called a lot of names – skipper, spiritual leader and above all Big J, a monicker reportedly coined by a veteran sports editor long gone. It was in his MICAA days where, during warm-up, he would pick the basketball up with one big hand. From big hand to Big J.

Love him or leave him.

No other player could stir up a deeply seated hatred or an outpouring of love than Robert Jaworski.

His charm and charisma dazzled his army of fans he would stand up and raise his hands and the uproar over poor officiating would immediately die down.

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