Caloy Loyzaga, the Philippines’ biggest contribution to international basketball, died Wednesday morning. He was 85.
Loyzaga died at Cardinal Santos Medical Center, his son Chito confirmed to Inquirer.
“It just happened this morning,” a grieving Chito told the Inquirer over the phone before excusing himself for giving more details for later in the day.
Caloy Loyzaga was given the name “The Big Difference” because of his greatness on the basketball floor both in the country and in international events, counting Olympic Games.
He played collegiate ball with the San Beda Red Lions in the NCAA and then suited up for the Philippines in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics.
Loyzaga, just under 6-feet-4 but was a dominant center in his time, led the Philippines to a third place finish in the World Basketball Championship in 1954 – the country’s best-ever – where he earned inclusion to the tournament’s All-Star team.
That Philippine team finish is the first and only time that an Asian country medaled in the prestigious event.
He suffered a massive stroke back in 2011 settled in the Philippines for good since 2013.