Caloy Loyzaga shines brightest at PSA Awards
MANILA, Philippines — Sixty years since his amazing romp in the world basketball stage, Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga continues to show his fighting heart and never-say-die spirit.
Far from his old bull-strong form, Loyzaga surprised many when he stood up and approached the stage using his walker to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night on Saturday at the Centennial Hall of Manila Hotel.
The 83-year-old legend, whose speech and movement have been impeded by a stroke, had earlier decided to have daughter and actress Bing receive the award, deliver the acceptance speech and bring the trophy to his table.
But Loyzaga, showing his appreciation for the honor bestowed on one of the country’s top athlete, decided to personally receive the award and acknowledged it with a wave to the packed ballroom crowd who gave him a standing ovation before giving his teary-eyed wife Vicky a gentle kiss.
The touching moment was easily the highlight of the annual affair which honored the sporting heroes of 2013 led by Gilas Pilipinas, the Athlete of the Year awardee.
Gilas Pilipinas’ improbable runner-up finish in the Fiba Asia Championship last August secured a slot in the 2014 Fiba World Cup for the first time in 35 years.
For the love of the game
“If there’s something my dad would like to impart to our present basketball players, it is this: Play not for the fame and glory, not for money, but for the love of the game,” Bing said as she spoke on her father’s behalf.
“And for those lucky enough to be honored a spot on the national team, your love for country must surpass even your love of the sport.”
Loyzaga, the father of former pro cagers Chito and Joey, is considered as the country’s all-time greatest basketball player.
With the moniker “The Big Difference,” Loyzaga powered the Philippines to an amazing bronze-medal finish in the 1954 World Basketball Championship where he’s still the only Asian to earn a spot in the Mythical Five.
“We hope his contributions in Philippine sports will influence and inspire young athletes in their respective fields of sports,” said Bing.