MANILA – The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has unveiled a special commemorative stamp series featuring Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) legend Robert Jaworski Sr.
PHLPost launched on Saturday the nine-stamp series with pictures of him playing during his prime days in the '70s and the '80s.
Jaworski's son Dodot and his sons, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, Philippine Sports Commission commissioner Mon Fernandez, Jaworski's bosom buddy during their days with Toyota, and current Ginebra stars Joe Devance, LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Mark Caguioa, and Scottie Thompson graced the event along with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
"Allow me to express my congratulations and appreciation to the Philippine Postal Corporation for issuing a series of special stamps entitled 'Salamat: Pagpupugay sa mga Alamat'. It is, however, an even greater honor to be included in the list of people who have been chosen by your esteemed corporation to be considered legends of our time. Let me express my profound gratitude for this great honor," Jaworski said as relayed by his son, who was part of the Ginebra lineup during his final playing years during the mid-90s.
The unveiling of the new stamps is part of PHLPost's tribute to Philippine sports heroes as the agency celebrates the 75th anniversary of the issuance of the first mail stamp in the Philippines.
PHLPost previously released a set of special stamps celebrating the successful Philippine team campaign during the Tokyo Olympics with gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial in the stamps.
This time, PHLPost expanded its tribute to Philippine sports heroes by adding Jaworski, who before steering the Tamaraws and the Gin Kings to multiple pro league titles was a vital member of the UE Red Warriors squad that won seven straight UAAP titles during the '60s and also a part of the national team.
"Never did I ever imagine that I would be put in the stamp of our beloved republic," Jaworski's statement added.
The 75-year-old PBA legend, who became a senator from 1998-2004 following his basketball retirement, could not be in attendance as he is recovering from a rare blood illness as Dodot revealed in an interview with Anthony Taberna.
“How I wish I could be there present with all of you today to personally thank you for this wonderful privilege and honor," Jaworski rued as his son further relayed.
Dodot, who would enter the political arena as well when he became a congressman in Pasig, then called for his father's fans to continue praying for his health to become better.
"We continue to ask for people to pray that he will get stronger and he will be back to his normal self soon,” the younger Jaworski said.
Paeng, 'Bata' next?
Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio said this is just the start of honoring those who have become local heroes in recent history.
In fact, Fulgencio bared that a new stamp series will be unveiled soon featuring modern-day legends who have been under-appreciated nowadays.
"In the next series, there will be surprise legends na never nabigyan ng pansin (who were never given attention)," he said.
He then revealed that bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno and billiards legend Efren "Bata" Reyes could be the next in line.
"Medyo naiyak sila na finally, na-notice sila (They were teary-eyed that finally, they would be noticed)," Fulgencio shared how the former world champions reacted to the news that they might also get their own stamps.
If plans push through, the probable Nepomuceno and Reyes stamps are set for a November 10 reveal as, according to Fulgencio, part of the unveiling of commemorative stamps featuring "10 world-renowned Filipinos."
For now, everyone can cherish Jaworski's legacy through their snail mails with his commemorative stamps.
"It's very much appropriate that the opening salvo should be given to the one and only Robert Jaworski, the original 'Living Legend'," he added. (PNA)