Basketball legend expires

Former basketball player and coach Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga passed away on January 27, 2016. He was 85. ABS-CBN Sports Channel reported. Loyzaga was a two-time Olympian as part of the Philippines men’s national basketball team. Loyzaga is undoubtedly the greatest Filipino to ever play basketball. He died around 7 a.m. at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

The 6-foot-3 Loyzaga led various editions of the Philippine national basketball teams into the Asian Games in the late 1950s and in the FIBA Asia championships during the early 1960s. He also played twice in the Olympic Games.

Highly regarded was Loyzaga’s all-around and equally clean play that it became a subject of many memoirs and discussion by many Philippine Sports writers. He will always be remembered as the “Big Difference’ who made an indelible mark on behalf of the Philippines in the 1954 FIBA World Championships. He made the tournament’s Mythical Team and secured a Bronze medal for his country.

The former San Beda Red Lion coached the University of Santo Tomas men’s basketball team in the collegiate arena. He also mentored U-Tex and Tanduay teams during the early years of Asia’s first pay-for-play league, the Philippine Basketball Association.

Mr. Rei Ozaeta, a former Ateneo Blue Eagle said: “It was Loyzaga who actually introduced me to the hard court. It was great to lay hands on an official-size leather basketball for the first time! I was in Grade 2 in 1952 at Ateneo De Manila in Padre Faura Avenue, a  jeep ride away from Rizal Coliseum in Vito Cruz Street. I was very proud to belong to the Blue Babble Battalion with an affordable 0.50-centavo ticket to the Bleachers, cheering the Blue Eagles to victory! Even if Caloy was star player for the San Beda Red Lions, he  earned my respect and admiration for being a gentleman in the playing field.”

Updated: 03/05/2016 — 19:04:02