Caloy Loyzaga enters FIBA Hall of Fame

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

June 2, 2023, 9:07 pm

<p>2023 FIBA Hall of Fame team<em> (Courtesy of FIBA)</em></p>

2023 FIBA Hall of Fame team (Courtesy of FIBA)

MANILA – Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga will be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame for helping put Asia on the world basketball map, the international federation announced Friday.

With the six-foot-three center leading the way in the 1954 World Championship (now World Cup), the Philippines wound up third for its best finish so far.

It also remains the best finish by an Asian team.

Loyzaga is also part of the Philippine team that won four gold medals in the Asian Games and two FIBA Asia Cup championships as well as appearing in two Olympics (1952 Finland and 1956 Melbourne).

As a coach, Loyzaga led the national team to the 1967 FIBA Asia Cup title, beating then-host country South Korea in the virtual final, 83-80, on the last day of the event.

He also coached in the Philippine Basketball Association from 1977 to 1979, handling YCO-Tanduay, where he suited up in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association.

Acknowledged as the greatest Filipino cager of all time, Loyzaga was part of the first batch of inductees into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Following his passing on Jan. 27, 2016, his alma mater San Beda College, which he led to three National Collegiate Athletic Association championships, formally retired his No. 14 jersey, coinciding with the school’s hosting that year.

Loyzaga's son and former pro, Chito, expressed gratitude for his father's inclusion in the elite group.

"On behalf of the Loyzaga family, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone 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 (Thank you very much! Long live the Filipino athlete)!" Loyzaga, currently the Athletics Director of the National University, said in a statement.

Retired National Basketball Association (NBA) star Yao Ming of China will join Loyzaga in the Hall of Fame.

The first overall pick of the 2002 Draft not just put China on the NBA map but also inspired other Asian players to try their luck in the league.

The eight-time NBA All-Star was the top scorer in the 2006 FIBA World Cup.

Completing the list of 2023 FIBA Hall of Fame inductees are players Amaya Valdemoro, Yuko Oga, Penny Taylor, Katrina McClain, Wlamir Marques, Sonny Hendrawan, Angelo Monteiro dos Santos Victoriano, and the late Zurab Sakandelidze, and coaches Valerie Garnier and Alessandro Gamba.

Their entry into the FIBA Hall of Fame will be formalized in a ceremony on Aug. 23 at the end of the FIBA Congress, which will take place in the Philippines as part of the FIBA World Cup. (PNA)