• Family, friends remember ‘The Big Difference’ with fondness

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    A photo of the late Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga during his youth. PHOTO FROM WIKIPEDIA

    A photo of the late Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga during his youth. PHOTO FROM WIKIPEDIA

    The family and friends of the late basketball legend Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga shared their fond memories of “The Big Difference.”

    “Today, that he moved on to another place now, the something I can share with everyone is his being a simple man. A loving husband, loving father especially after his basketball career. When he retired [from basketball], he chose to have a simple life overseas,” Loyzaga’s son, Chito told The Manila Times on Thursday at his father’s wake.

    Lozada passed away at 85 on Wednesday morning at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center because cardiac arrest.

    His grandson, Jose Joaquin Loyzaga, wants to remember his lolo [grandfather]as a simple man.

    “He drives me to school every morning and pick me up afterwards. He tells stories during the war and Olympic games. Those are the things I remember the most.”

    “He takes a time out of his day to talk to us, ask us how we were and he is smiling while doing that. That’s the thing I really treasure about my lolo,” said Jose Joaquin.

    Clarito Pinga, the former athletics director of San Beda College, considers Loyzaga a great man to be admired.

    “He is not only the greatest player but also a great man as a person, not as a coach or not as an athlete. Alisin mo na ‘yung athletic prowess niya, I will still admire him as a person,” said Pinga who convinced Loyzaga to coach San Beda during his tenure.

    “I was the one who convinced him to coach San Beda. Niloloko nga niya ako, sabi niya hindi mo ako kayang swelduhan. But I was still able to convince him.”

    Besides coaching skills, Pinga admires Loyzaga for his kindness to his players.

    “I noticed one thing sa kanya. Inaalagaan niya lahat ng players especially the needy players. As a matter of fact, may isa pa siyang pinatulog sa bahay nila sa kwarto ni Chito.

    “San Beda was nothing before. When he took over, he saw to it lahat ng kinuha niyang player ay may sponsor na alumni. Talagang nag-alaga siya ng mga players,” said Pinga.

    Susan Roces, widow of the late King of Philippine movies Fernando Poe Jr., also paid her last respect to the basketball icon.

    “Caloy was a good fried of my husband. During our younger years, we were great fans of basketball. And we remember him dearly and cheered for him a lot.”

    Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Jolly Gomez shared his memories of Loyzaga when they conducted an outreach programs with Chito.

    “Chito and I have had an outreach for inmates in jail. When Caloy came back, when he was still not on the wheelchair, we brought him once to our outreach. I think he enjoys the women’s cell more than the men’s cell. It was a very beautiful day for all of us,” Gomez said.

    Loyzaga led the national team to winning four consecutive Asian Games gold medals – in 1951 (New Delhi), 1954 (Manila), 1958 (Tokyo) and 1962 (Jakarta). Through his prowess, the country also ruled two FIBA Asia Championships – in 1960 (Manila) and 1963 (Taiwan).

    Loyzaga was a member of the Philippine team that won a bronze medal in the 1954 Rio de Janeiro FIBA World Championship. He was inducted into the Philippine National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

    Loyzaga’s wake will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arlington Memorial Chapels in G. Araneta Avenue in Quezon City.

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