PBA Hall of Famer Francis Arnaiz is best known as part of the original “Never Say Die (NSD)” Ginebra San Miguel team during his heydays. He got the chance to see their successors, the first time in more than a decade.
“Mr. Clutch” saw firsthand how Ginebra pulled off a pulsating win in Game 2 of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals. Arnaiz is happy to see how the “NSD” culture remains intact to this day.
“Absolutely,” Arnaiz said when asked if he sees the same “Never Say Die” attitude on the present team.
“Ang nag umpisa niyan si Jaworski. It all started when we joined Ginebra. It is unbelievable that the fans are still there. Grabe! Home court advantage parati ang Ginebra. It seems lahat ng tao sa kanila.”
“Surprised? I’m not sure. I am just happy that Senator (Robert) Jaworski started it all,” added Arnaiz.
Playing most of his career with Toyota before the team disbanded in 1984, Arnaiz followed Jaworski to form Gilbey’s Gin (now known as Ginebra). It reprised their backcourt tandem which lasted for three more years before Arnaiz retired from the playing pro ball.
Arnaiz recalls how they carried the “Never Say Die” attitude and how it was similar to the 2017 Gin Kings.
“Ganito lang ‘yan eh. There are a lot of things you cannot foresee in the game. You don’t know sino mananalo. The only thing you can control in the game is effort,” Arnaiz said.
“Yun lang eh. I see that in this team. They are ‘Never Say Die’—they still have it.”
Arnaiz is a 9-time PBA champion and fought many wars in the league. He was best remembered as part of the famed Toyota vs Crispa rivalry.
As for the 2017 PBA Governors Cup Finals, he believes game 3 is the most important one in any best-of-seven series.
“In the best-of-seven, the most important is the Game 3. Pag nanalo ng Game 3 ‘yan, the chances are it’s over. If they lose Game 3, it is 2-1…malapit na masyado,” Arnaiz pointed out. “Meralco is a very good team also. It could have gone either way tonight.”
His former backcourt tandem would attest that the series is not over until the fat lady sings.
“It is not over until it is over but they got to do it,” said Jaworski. “You only win it by going together and working hard. That’s it! No secret to tell.”
By: E. Hernandez, mb.com.ph