PBA Highlights: The Oldest Player Ever Played in the PBA

2023/04/14

A lot of people have been debating the various heights of various basketball players in the PBA. Although there are little differences in the heights of the players, there is this certain player who stood out among equals in PBA history.

The development of talents that can be seen being used on the court is only one small part of what it takes to become a great basketball player.

A player's development can be helped quite a bit by a mixture of hard work, practice, and natural skill, but true greatness in basketball is attained through the development of the intangibles as well.

PBA Highlights: The Oldest Player Ever Played in the PBA

The intangibles are those characteristics that are not recognizable but are the most vital for reaching success in the sport.

If you want to play for a long time and remain relevant in a league, then you need to do things that are really different from what previous players have done. In this article, we examine Robert Jaworski, the oldest player to ever play in PBA history.

PBA Highlights: Robert Jaworski Early Life

On March 8, 1946, Robert Vincent Salazar was born to an American father of Polish heritage named Theodore Vincent Jaworski and a Filipino mother of Ilocano descent named Iluminada Bautista Salazar. Jaworski spent his childhood on the streets of Manila, where he received his first exposure to basketball. He went on to become a prominent figure in the basketball world by competing at the collegiate level.

PBA Highlights: The Oldest Player Ever Played in the PBA

PBA Highlights: Robert Jaworski Early Career

In 1964, Jaworski was a member of the University of the East Red Warriors team that competed in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

During the UAAP seasons of 1965 and 1966, Jaworski turned in remarkable performances, which led to back-to-back championships for the Red Warriors of Recto.

In 1966, Jaworski was a part of the amateur team that was chosen to represent the country in the Asian Games that were held in Bangkok.

The next year, he led the Philippines to gold at the Asian Basketball Championship (now FIBA Asia Cup) in Seoul, South Korea.

PBA Highlights: The Oldest Player Ever Played in the PBA

PBA Highlights: Robert Jaworski Professional Career

Jaworski spent ten years as a Toyota team member (1973–1983).

He was universally considered the team's leader and was a significant contributor to Toyota's nine PBA victories. In 1978, the Most Valuable Player award was bestowed upon him. In addition to this, he was the first point guard in PBA history to record 1000 offensive rebounds and 2000 defensive rebounds.

Additionally, he holds the record for the most assists ever recorded in PBA history. Jaworski and Narciso Bernardo (an experienced internationalist) were both identified as members of the Mythical Five in the year 1967.

When Toyota was dissolved at the end of the 1983 season, Jaworski refused to join Beer Hausen, the brand name of Basic Holdings. He did this after detailing what he saw to be a sale that was completed without showing the appropriate amount of respect to the individuals who were involved.

Jaworski participated in the entirety of Game 4 of the Best of Seven series, which Manila Beer ultimately prevailed over despite requiring two additional overtime minutes.

At the time, Jaworski was 40 years old, but he still managed to set a record in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as the local player who had played the longest in a single game.

This record was later broken by Jaworski's wedding godson, Zandro "Jun" Limpot, who was playing for the Sta. Lucia Realtors was a rookie in 1993 and managed to win a triple overtime game against SMB while playing the full 60 minutes. Ironically, Jaworski also holds the record for the lowest amount of time played in a PBA game, having done so for only one second.

In a game played in 1996 against the Alaska Milkmen, when the Big J was trailing by two points with one second remaining in the game, he took it upon himself to field the ball and handle the inbound.

The inbound was successful; nevertheless, the team was unable to capitalize on this opportunity and ultimately ended up losing the game.

In 1988, Jaworski won his first and only All-Filipino championship in a controversial game against Purefoods Hotdogs.

Purefoods Hotdogs was led by Ramon Fernandez, who was also the coach of the team in the previous (Open) conference before handing over the job to Cris Calilan early in the All-Filipino conference. Jaworski won his first and only All-Filipino championship in 1988.

PBA Highlights: Robert Jaworski Political Career

Jaworski was successful in his bid for the position of senator in the national elections held in 1998 as a candidate for the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino party.

In the 1998 Senate elections, Jaworski finished in ninth place overall. This was the highest-placed finish for a former athlete since Tito Sotto, and it remained the case until Manny Pacquiao finished in seventh place in 2016. Because of this, he had to hand over the coaching responsibilities to Rino Salazar, who works as an assistant at Ginebra.

As a result of a disagreement with the new management of San Miguel Corporation, Ginebra's parent company, Jaworski, resigned from his position as head coach and focused more on his political responsibilities once the conflict became public.

During his time as a senator, Jaworski prioritized the passage of legislation pertaining to sports and the environment.

PBA Highlights: Conclusion

Regrettably, a few circumstances can put a player in a position where they are effectively compelled to retire.

The first explanation, which is also the most straightforward, is that it's because of old age. Once players in the PBA reach a certain age, their bodies just can't keep up with the rigors of the game any longer, even though the desire and passion for playing are still there.

The human body experiences a natural fall in capabilities as it ages, and players older than their peers are viewed as a liability in a sport requiring professional athletes to perform at their absolute optimum.

A player may also be compelled to retire for other various reasons, including physical ailments such as injuries or illnesses.

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