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Legend Jaworski tells Gilas: Forget your last name, just think of ‘Pilipinas’

/ 07:38 PM November 28, 2018

Robert Jaworksi cemented a lasting legacy in Philippine basketball and it’s also the kind of contribution he wants the current and future generations of Filipino basketball stars to build.

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Jaworski, the Filipino basketball icon, along with his fellow Philippine basketball greats from the 1950s to 1970s, imparted words of wisdom and shared their invaluable experience to Gilas Pilipinas players during the team’s sendoff lunch.

“I can see that all of you have great talents. I salute you. But this time, forget your last name, just think of the word Pilipinas,” Jaworski, who was part of the 1968 PH team that competed in the Olympics and 1974 in the World Championship, said addressing the Gilas team.

READ: Gilas Pilipinas preparing for the worst against Kazakhstan 

“That’s what’s really important. Wherever you may have played it will be forgotten but representing the Philippines is the legacy that you will leave behind.”

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Philippine basketball legends Rafael Hechanova, Ed Roque, Antonio Genato, Marte Samson, Jimmy Mariano, Turo Valenzona and Manny Paner also showed their support to Gilas Pilipinas.

Chito Loyzaga, a member of the PH team that competed in the 1990 Asian Games, and Dickie Bachmann were also part of the simple yet momentous gathering as they represented their late great fathers Carlos and Kurt, respectively.

Gilas begins its campaign in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers against Kazakhstan on Friday.

READ: Returning June Mar Fajardo, LA Tenorio lead Gilas Final 12 vs Kazakhstan

June Mar Fajardo, Stanley Pringle and the returning LA Tenorio will lead a Philippine team composed of the country’s cream of the crop.

But Jaworski reminded the team that it’s not just about talent.

“You have to focus, work as a team and look forward to bringing back the glory days where we made the World Cup, we made the Olympics. We can do it.”

It was national team coach Yeng Guiao’s initiative to invite Jaworski and the rest of the Filipino basketball heroes to be the highlight of the sendoff and it turned out the way how he had imagined it to be.

READ: Yeng at heart: Guiao opens up on Gilas, Congress

“It’s a really good sendoff for our national team to be sent off by our legends the people who started it all. They’re here to send us off, to give us their wisdom, to give us some encouragement and to me, just their mere presence here gives us all of that,” Guiao said.

“This is really the past, present and future and they’re all in this room right now. To me, it’s really a very symbolic occasion,” he added. “We would like to recognize all the efforts of the past national teams and we know we will not be here if not for our trailblazers who paved the way for us to be here.”

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TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, National Team, Philippines, Robert Jaworski, Yeng Guiao
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