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Jaworski saddened by Salud’s departure from PBA

Lifetime Achievement Award 1973 Philippine Men's Basketball Team, headed by Sonny "Big J" Jaworski.   Photo by Tony Pionilla

Basketball legend Robert Jaworski was surprised to find his name among possible replacement of outgoing PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.

“This is the first time I’ve heard the story,” said Jaworski in an interview during the 2015 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Monday evening at the One Esplanade in Pasay City.

Jaworski and his former teammates with the national team that bagged the 1973 FIBA Asia Championship title were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the PSA.

Jaworski, who will turn 69 on March 8, said that he was more stunned to learn the decision of Salud to step down as league chief at the end of the season sometime in July.

For the man popularly known in the PBA as the “Living Legend” and the “Big J”, Jaworski thinks that the 52-year-old Salud is doing a fine job in running the affairs of Asia’s first professional league.

“I’m saddened because I feel that Commissioner Salud is doing a good job, considering the environment (of being the commissioner) and to what happened in the past,” said Jaworski, a one-time senator.

Salud tendered his resignation last Sunday, saying that it was in his plans to step down after his five-year stint in the PBA that began in 2010.

The board, chaired by Patrick “Pato” Gregorio of Talk ’N Text, will convene on the 26th of this month to discuss the criteria in choosing the candidates for the next PBA commissioner.

Sources, though, have mentioned Jaworski as possible replacement, as well as two other PBA players in Ramon Fernandez and Chito Loyzaga. Onetime board chairmen JB Baylon, Lito Alvarez and Buddy Encarnado are also said to be in the short list, and former TV5 executive Bobby Barreiro.

Jaworski said the success the PBA is enjoying right now is a strong indication that sports in general is doing well and that PBA players can inspire other athletes in other sports disciplines to perform and excel even in international competitions.