MANILA, Philippines – Two of the most revered players in Philippine basketball will get feted in the San Miguel Corporation – Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards.
Longtime rivals Robert Jaworski Sr. and Ramon Fernandez are set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during the March 14 gala night at Diamond Hotel for their contribution to Filipino hoops.
Earlier in their professional careers, Jaworski and Fernandez teamed up and led a star-studded Toyota crew to nine PBA championships.
However, Toyota got disbanded before the start of the 1984 season and the two went their separate ways – a period that marked the beginning of their hardcourt rivalry.
Jaworski, 75, went on to win four more PBA titles as the magnetic playing-coach of Ginebra San Miguel, giving birth to “Never Say Die” spirit the franchise is known today.
Meanwhile, Fernandez, 68, stamped his class as arguably the greatest player in PBA history as he ended his career with 19 crowns, including a Grand Slam with San Miguel in 1989, and 4 MVP plums.
Fernandez retired as the all-time PBA leader in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, free throws made, and career minutes played.
The rivals, though, eventually patched things up – as initiated by late legendary coach Baby Dalupan – behind that “Jaworski to Fernandez pass” for a 132-130 win at the buzzer during the 1989 PBA All-Star Game.
A year after, the former teammates collaborated as coach-player in the Philippines’ silver medal finish in the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, marking the first time the country sent an all-pro team in international competitions.
Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the country’s sportswriting community included Dalupan, billiards icon Efren “Bata” Reyes, the late former ambassador and basketball project director Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the 1973 Philippine men’s basketball team, Filomeno “Boy” Codinera, and Gintong Alay project director Joey Romasanta, among others. – Rappler.com
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