PBA coaches Cone, Austria remember PH basketball ‘trailblazer’ Loyzaga
It’s the present day honoring the man of the past.
Multi-titled coaches Tim Cone and Leo Austria gave their respects to Caloy Loyzaga, arguably the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time, on Wednesday saying it was “The Big Difference” who paved the way for the development of Philippine basketball into what it is today.
“I think it’s just really important to remember our legends, they were the trailblazers for us, they were the ones who got us going so without them we would not be here,” Cone said. “It’s important we remember our history and those guys like Caloy Loyzaga, he was the difference.”
“That was his nickname, he was the Big Difference.”
Both Austria and Cone had minimal interaction with Loyzaga, but they were close with the legend’s sons Chito and Joey.
Austria said Chito and Joey reflected their father’s style of play, strutting as the personification of “puso (heart).”
“Makikita mo naman how Chito and Joey played basketball talagang nandoon lagi ang puso, lagging 100% and that’s what I think of Caloy Loyzaga,” Austria said.
“I didn’t know him that well, I met him once or twice so my relationship was really with the sons, I know they talked about their father all the time,” Cone said. “You know it was great seeing him back here towards the end of his life and he’s just a legend.”
Loyzaga collected every possible medal a Filipino basketball player of his time could get.
He was a four-time Asian Games gold medalist, a two-time Fiba Asia Championship gold medalist, and he was a bronze medalist in the Fiba World Championship which is still the highest finish of an Asian nation in the World games.
As a coach, Loyzaga led the Philippines to a gold medal finish in the 1967 ABC Championship now known as the Fiba Asia championship.
Loyzaga was also a two-time Olympian, representing the Philippines in the 1952 and 1956 Games.
“He’s a good inspiration to a lot of basketball players because that time he was an Olympian and he really inspired a lot of people,” Austria said.
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