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Caloy Loyzaga Named First Filipino Player of FIBA Hall of Fame

Caloy Loyzaga FIBA Hall of Fame
James Francisco

It may mean one thing to dominate in the present, though once the legacy has been cemented reaps immortality.

When stirring up a debate between the greatest to ever step on the hardwood, Carlos ‘Caloy' Loyzaga name will forever be in the discussion. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) recognizes the late 6-foot-3 center as the first Filipino cager (second Filipino overall, seeing the induction of contributor Dionisio Calvo in 2007) to receive Hall of Fame honors.

Joining eight mythical stalwarts and two head coaches, the former-National team player fortifies the greatness of the 2023 FIBA Hall of Fame Class, with the governing body recognizing his contributions to the nation’s success. The August 23, 2023 ceremony (two days before the commencement of the FIBA World Cup Group Stages) poses as the portal from the mundane, forever be etched in history as catalysts of the game.

Noting his contributions to arguably the “most significant moment in Philippine basketball history,” player-coach Caloy Loyzaga led the undersized local roster to a third-place finish at Brazil’s rendition of the FIBA World Cup in 1954. The Former San Beda Red Lion finished with 19 markers in the 66-60 victory against France—the highest-recorded finish of any Asian nation in the tournament’s history.

As an ode to his excellence, the FIBA procured ‘Loyzaga Lounge’ at the Philippine chapter of the World Cup Qualifiers last year brimmed with historic artifacts evidencing the growth of Philippine basketball—where his FIBA 1954 Bronze Medal dangled for all to behold. Living vicariously through the reins of his family, his granddaughter, Chi Loyzaga Gibbs, draws inspiration from his legacy with the Nike Jordan 2 ‘Titan’ collaboration—showcasing hints of his basketball greatness converged with Titan’s colors and themes. 

Posing an avenue for world-class competition and the undeniable showmanship of talent, FIBA sustains the world’s love for the game. The Philippines is distinguished for its fledging basketball culture, reflected through the unrelenting support of its local and international cagers. Regardless of origin, the smallest hint of local blood in future talent has Filipinos looking toward competing with the greatest of the world—exhibiting the never say die PUSO culture.

Nowadays, Gilas Pilipinas leads the charge for the country with the hopes of achieving global dominance, though it was Caloy Loyzaga, “the King”, who pioneered its movement.

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