it is a fitting honor that was a long time coming.
It has been a long time coming, but that time has finally come.
Caloy Loyzaga, widely considered as among the very best players in Philippine history, has finally been named to the FIBA Hall of Fame, joining an elite list that includes hoops royalty like Michael Jordan, Arvydas Sabonis, Oscar Schmidt, and Andrew Gaze.
Known in local hoops circles as The Big Difference, Loyzaga is best known for leading the Philippines to the bronze medal in the 1954 FIBA World Cup—a feat that to this day has never been duplicated by any national team, including Gilas Pilipinas. It also stands as the highest ever finish by an Asian nation in the quadrennial hoops conclave.
Loyzaga, who also helped steer the Philippines to a pair of Olympic stints in 1952 and 1956, was also at the helm as the Philippines dominated at the Asian Games, leading the national team to four consecutive golden finishes—in 1951, 1954, 1958, and 1962. He also helped the Philippines win the FIBA Asia Championships in 1960 and 1963.
Joining Loyzaga in the FIBA Hall of Fame Class of 2023 are China’s Yao Ming, Brazil’s Wlamir Marques, Australia’s Penny Taylor, Indonesia’s Sonny Hendrawan, and Angola’s Angelo Monteiro dos Santos Victoriano.
Georgia’s Zurab Sakandelidze, like Loyzaga, will also be honored posthumously in the induction ceremony that will take place in Manila this August, just a couple of days before the 2023 FIBA World Cup tips off.
The FIBA Hall of Fame was established by FIBA in 1991 to honor players, coaches, teams, and officials who have had great contributions to international basketball. Loyzaga is the second Filipino to be enshrined into this elite group, after Dionisio "Chito" Calvo was inducted way back in 2007.