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Henry Liao

KING CALOY" BOOK LAUNCHED

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Caloy Loyzaga, undisputedly the greatest Filipino basketball player ever, in is town for the formal launching of the “King Caloy” on March 20 at the San Beda College chapel in Mendiola.
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The book, which consists over 100 pages, features various stories on Loyzaga throughout his brilliant cage career.*
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Loyzaga, who turns 83 on August 29, migrated to Australia during the eighties.* He played varsity ball at San Beda College during his heyday, propelling the Red Lions to four championships during the 1950s – National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles in 1951, 1952 and 1955 and the National Open crown in 1951, which was then the biggest plum in local basketball.
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A bull-strong 6-3, 200-pound center in his prime, Loyzaga spanned an era that contributed in no small measure to the huge popularity currently enjoyed by the game among the Filipinos.
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If there is a singular personality responsible for enhancing the mass appeal of any sport in his country, he would be Loyzaga, known as “The Big Difference,” “The Great Difference” and “King Caloy” during his time.
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Loyzaga was a rarity in that he could play all three positions – center, forward and guard – with equal efficiency.* But it was at center that Caloy was most recognized – a tough, deadly and graceful slotman who sowed terror in the heart of his adversaries.
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Loyzaga was a dominant force even at the commercial/post-graduate level, latching on with the fabled Yco Athletic Club in 1954 after powering PRATRA and PRISCO to the National Open championship in 1950 and 1953, respectively.* With Yco, he helped the Redshirts/Painters put together a 49-game winning streak from 1954 to 1956.* Loyzaga took over as the commercial club’s head coach after hanging up his jersey in 1964.
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Loyzaga subsequently became the national team mentor.* He piloted the gold medal-winning PH “Dirty Dozen” team in the 1967 Seoul Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) and the 1968 Mexico Olympics squad.
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Loyzaga also took a crack at local politics at the height of his popularity, winning as a councilor in the City of Manila, before migrating to Australia for a job with a security agency.
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Talking about Loyzaga is like leafing through the pages of the sport’s golden era in the Philippines.
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And much of Caloy’s greatness can be gleaned from his stunning performances in the international front.
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Under the baton of Loyzaga, the Filipinos never lost an Asian basketball title during the 1950s and early 1960s, coming up with six gold medals in as many continental competitions – four in the Asian Games, 1951-1954-1958-1962, and two in the ABC tournament, 1960-1963.
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The Philippines also grabbed the bronze medal during the 1954 Rio de Janeiro World Basketball Championship as Loyzaga earned a slot on the five-man All-Tournament Team with a tournament third-leading 16.4-point average.
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Believe it or not, the Philippines never once registered a losing record during Loyzaga’s 10 international stints (including Olympic appearances in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956 and a second World Basketball Championship in Santiago, Chile in 1959).
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The Filipinos compiled a 58-14 win-loss mark overall, including 41-3 in Asian-level competitions, during the Loyzaga era.
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Wonder no more why Loyzaga is the greatest basketball player ever produced by the Philippines.
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