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Henry Liao

The Loyzagas: Three's Not a Crowd

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It has not happened yet – the first player in the 39-year history of the Philippine Basketball Association to have sent two sons to Asia’s first professional league.

That will come in a few years’ time (maybe in 2017?) when incoming junior Jeron Alvin Teng from the reigning University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) titlist De La Salle University Green Archers joins elder brother Jeric Allen Teng, a rookie with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, in the PBA where father Alvin once saw action for 14 seasons (1986-98, 2002).

Then again, there has been one instance in PH annals where an all-time Filipino basketball great from the old Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) circuit, the precursor of the PBA, was able to produce two sons that eventually were good enough to ply their trade in the PBA.

Their names: Carlos (Caloy) Loyzaga, undisputedly the greatest Filipino cager ever, and sons Joaquin (Chito) Loyzaga and Ernesto (Joey) Loyzaga.

Monikered “The Big Difference” by iconic sportscaster Willie Hernandez for his ability to change the course of a game, the 6-foot-3 Caloy not only dominated the local competitions in the fifties and early sixties with the San Beda College Red Lions in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Yco Redshirts/Painters in the MICAA but he also hogged the headlines in the international scene as the primary star of numerous Philippine national teams.

The highlight of Loyzaga’s incandescent international career came in 1954 when he powered the Philippines to the bronze medal during the 2nd World Basketball Championship (now known as the FIBA World Cup) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Until now, it is the best-ever finish by an Asian country in the quadrennial meet.

A winner throughout his basketball tenure, Loyzaga earned a championship in each of his four trips to the Asian Games – 1951 in New Delhi (India), 1954 in Manila, 1958 in Tokyo (Japan) and 1961 in Jakarta (Indonesia) – and appeared in a pair of Summer Olympics – 1952 in Helsinki (Finland) and 1956 in Melbourne (Australia) before hanging up his jersey in 1964.

Caloy, who resided in Australia for more than three decades, turned 83 last August.

While pigeon-chested siblings Chito and Joey were cut from the same cloth as their dad, neither came close to King Caloy’s multi-dimensional skills.

Like their father, Chito and Joey also are products of San Beda College.

Chito hooked up with Yco (again his father’s post-graduate commercial club) in the MICAA before joining turning professional in 1981. The 6-2 swingman appeared with Tanduay (Yco’s pro unit), Toyota, Great Taste and Ginebra in 12 seasons (1981-93) in the PBA.

Chito, who turned 55 last August, posted averages of 9.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 566 PBA outings.

Joey, who is three years younger than Chito, played with Magnolia, Swift, Shell, Tondeña-Ginebra and Alaska in 14 PBA campaigns from 1984-2000. The 6-1 guard-forward, hit at a 7.7-point clip in 462 assignments.

Neither Chito nor Joey was able to surpass their dad’s various accomplishments in the local and international basketball landscapes.
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