Carlos Loyzaga had always been a loving father to Bing and her siblings. But they only knew of greatness as a basketball player through some uniforms, newspaper clippings, and souvenirs that they were able to keep over time.
That all changed on Wednesday night.
“Us kids, we never really witnessed him playing. We only had memorabilia to go back to how he was,” Bing, the fourth of Loyzaga’s children with wife Vicky, told reporters at Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
“He was more of a dad than a basketball player. So this means a lot to us because he was no longer just a great dad to us. Now, it’s proven, he is the Philippines’ greatest basketball player.” Loyzaga was finally inducted into Fiba’s (International Basketball Federation) Hall of Fame that night, joining 11 other global standouts for the Class of 2023.
His first-born Chito delivered a simple acceptance speech before a crowd that included his mother and local and international basketball leaders who are also in town for the Fiba Congress and the World Cup that gets going on Friday, Aug. 25.
Remembered in many ways
“May he also be remembered for his honesty, integrity, sense of justice and fair play, his simple dignity, quiet humility and the deep gratitude for having been given the opportunity to represent his country,” he said.
“These perhaps may set him apart from some of the athletes, past and present,” the former PSC Commissioner and PBA great went on.
The late Loyzaga’s glittering resumé includes a rich medal haul in the Asian Games. But the most compelling hardware of his illustrious career is the bronze he won at the 1954 World Championships (now the World Cup) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The finish remains the finest by any Asian team to this day.
“Thanks to all the stories passed on from generation to generation up to today. Like we’ve said, we never witnessed Dad play, but through their stories, we can imagine him playing and we’re already so proud,” said another daughter, Teresa.
“We have to carry that name the same way he carried it. So we owe him a lot and I think we owe that back to him,” she went on.
Carlos Loyzaga is the first Filipino player to be named into the Fiba Hall. The first overall was his mentor, two-time Olympic coach Dionisio Calvo, who was a member of the pioneering class of 2007.Other inductees include former NBA star Yao Ming of China, former Philippine team tormentor Sony Hendrawan of Indonesia, Yuko Oga of Japan, Penny Taylor of Australia, Katrina McClain of USA, Wlamir Marquies of Brazil, Angelo Monteiro dos Santos Victoriano of Angola, Zurab Sakandelidze of Georgia (posthumously), Valerie Garnier of France and Alessandro Gamba of Italy.
Loyzaga, known fondly as Caloy, also went with a moniker befitting his size and stature: The Big Difference.
On Wednesday night, even that changed.
“So, he’s now the ‘Greatest Difference,’” said Joey, another one of Loyzaga’s sons who also played in the PBA.
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