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Loyzaga, Yao to be inducted in FIBA Hall Of Fame

Caloy Loyzaga, Philippine basketball's best ever product, is finally headed to the FIBA Hall Of Fame (photo from Legends and Heroes of Philippine Basketall Book)

Caloy Loyzaga, the best player Philippine Basketball has ever produced, is finally headed to the FIBA Hall of Fame.

Known as ‘The Great Difference’, Loyzaga will be inducted posthumously in an event where former National Basketball Association star Yao Ming, Wlamir Marques and Penny Taylor will be honored on 23 August after the conclusion of the FIBA Congress at Sofitel Manila from 21 to 24 August

Loyzaga’s induction in the Hall of Fame was long overdue.

His long-time rival, Oscar Moglia of Uruguay, was already inducted in the Hall of Fame two years ago.

Loyzaga led the Philippines to a 67-63 win over Moglia’s team in the 1954 World Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an event where the Filipinos went on to finish with a bronze medal, the highest ever finish by any Philippine quintet.

Loyzaga pumped in 31 points while Moglia was a non-factor during the match.

Standing 6-foot-3, Loyzaga was able to hold his own against bigger, stronger rivals in the World Championship.

He was the first Asian player to crack the all-world team, joining Kirby Minter of the United States, Zenny de Azevedo and Wlamir Marques of Brazil and Moglia.

It’s not surprising why Loyzaga was on the cover of the book “Legends and Heroes Of Philippine Basketball” and was even featured in the Spanish book “El Libro de Oro del Basket.”

Loyzaga also backstopped the Philippines to four gold medal feats in the Asian Games — 1951 in New Delhi, 1954 in Manila, 1958 in Tokyo and 1962 in Jakarta, which up to this day was the last gold medal won by the Philippines in the Asiad.

Twice, he also led the Philippines to the gold medal of the 1960 and 1963 Asian Basketball Confederation.

Loyzaga also played for the Philippines’ two Olympic squads — the 1952 edition in Helsinki, Finland and the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Basketball was in the lifeblood of the Loyzaga family as Caloy’s sons, Chito and Joey, also became star players in the Philippine Basketball Association where they became multiple-time champions

Chito, who served as Philippine Olympic Committee’s chef de mission in the just concluded Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, posted a statement.

“On behalf of the Loyzaga family, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone especially the SBP headed by President Al Panlilio and Chairman MVP who contributed, assisted and supported the induction of Carlos “Caloy” M. Loyzaga as the first Filipino basketball player to the FIBA Hall of Fame. Maraming Salamat! Mabuhay ang Atletang Pilipino!”

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