Carlos Loyzaga

Carlos "Caloy" Loyzaga y Matute (August 29, 1930 – January 27, 2016) was a Filipino basketball player and coach. He was the most dominant basketball player of his era in the Philippines and is considered as the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time. Loyzaga was a two-time Olympian (1952, 1956), as a member of the Philippines men's national basketball team.

Carlos Loyzaga
Personal information
Born(1930-08-29)August 29, 1930
Manila, Philippine Islands
DiedJanuary 27, 2016(2016-01-27) (aged 85)
San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines
Listed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Career information
CollegeSan Beda College
Playing career1951–1964
Career history
1954–1964YCO Painters (MICAA)
Career highlights and awards
As coach:

Early life and education

Loyzaga was born in Manila, Philippines on August 29, 1930 to a Basque family. He was the fourth child of Joaquin Loyzaga Sr. and Carmen Matute. He survived the Second World War with his mother, sister and two brothers. He studied at the Padre Burgos Elementary School in Santa Mesa, Manila and National University for high school until 1948.

Basketball career

Loyzaga learned to play basketball in the neighborhood TERVALAC (Teresa Valenzuela Athletic Club) basketball courts in Teresa Street, Santa Mesa, Manila. It was in the very same TERVALAC court where he was discovered by Gabby Fajardo, one of the Philippines' leading coaches of the time. Fajardo saw promise in Loyzaga and offered to train Loyzaga for his junior PRATRA (Philippine Relief and Trade Rehabilitation Administration) team. In 1949, Loyzaga quit high school to play for PRATRA, winning the MICAA junior crown that year.[1]

San Beda Red Lions

Loyzaga wanted to enroll at Letran, but backed out at the last minute when the coach gave him a cold shoulder. He was about to enroll at the University of Santo Tomas, but this also did not materialize after Fely Fajardo (older brother of Gabby), coach of the San Beda Red Lions, recruited him. In the NCAA cage wars for the coveted Zamora Trophy in the 1950s, San Beda lost its title bid when Loyzaga did not see action due to scholastic reasons.

During the spirited rivalry between the San Beda Red Lions and the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the sports moderator of San Beda discovered that, under the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) rules, Loyzaga had one year of eligibility left. He was allowed to play for that one year specifically for the Red Lions to capture the Zamora Cup, the prize for the team that had three NCAA championships. The only eligible teams were San Beda (Champions, 1951 and 1952) and Ateneo de Manila (Champions 1953, 1954). Loyzaga successfully helped San Beda clinch the Zamora Trophy. Following San Beda's triple championships (1951, 1952 and 1955), the Zamora Trophy was retired. That moment in time earned Loyzaga the legendary title of "The Big Difference".[2][3]

YCO Painters

Loyzaga joined the fabled YCO Painters in 1954 after powering PRATRA, and its successor team, PRISCO (Price Stabilization Corporation), to the National Open championship in 1950 and 1953, respectively. He helped the Painters achieve a 49-game winning streak from 1954 to 1956, including several MICAA titles and ten straight National Open titles. Loyzaga took over as the Painter’s head coach after retiring in 1964.[4][5]

Philippine men's basketball team

Loyzaga was a two-time Olympian - 1952 (9th place) and 1956 (7th place) - as a member of the Philippines men's national basketball team. He helped the Philippines become one of the best in the world at the time, winning four consecutive Asian Games gold medals (1951, 1954, 1958, 1962) and two consecutive FIBA Asia Championships (1960, 1963). His finest moment was at the 1954 FIBA World Championship where he led the Philippines to a Bronze finish. It was the best finish by an Asian country and the Philippines have remained the only Asian medalist in the tournament. He finished as one of the tournament’s leading scorer with a 16.4 points-per-game average and was named in the tournament's All-Star selection.[2][6][7]

Coaching career

Loyzaga started as player-coach for YCO during the early 1960s. After retiring as a player in 1964, he became the head coach of YCO and the Manila Bank Golden Bankers in the MICAA; and the UST Glowing Goldies in the UAAP. He coached the Philippine men's basketball team that won the 1967 ABC Championship (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship). In the Philippine Basketball Association, he coached U/Tex (1975-1976) and Tanduay (1977-1979).[4]

Personal life

Loyzaga was married to Vicky Cuerva on 21 May 1957; the couple's children include basketball players Chito and Joey, Princess, and actresses Bing and Teresa.[8][9][10] He was the grandfather of Diego Loyzaga.[11]

Loyzaga died on January 27, 2016 at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan, Metro Manila.[8] He suffered a stroke in Australia in 2011 before returning to the Philippines in 2013.[12][13][14]

As a posthumous commemoration, the San Beda College officially retired the #14 jersey used by Loyzaga during the opening ceremonies of the NCAA Season 92 basketball tournament on June 25, 2016 at the Mall of Asia Arena.[15] Members of the Loyzaga family attended the jersey retirement ceremony.[16]



  • Philippine National Basketball Hall of Fame (1999)[4]
  • Philippine Sportswriters Association Athletes of the 20th Century award (2000)
  • Philippine Olympic Committee Presidential Olympism Award (2016)[17]


  • Bocobo, Christian and Celis, Beth, "Legends and Heroes of Philippine Basketball", (Philippines, 2004)
  • Dela Cruz, Juan, "Book of Pinoy Facts and Records", (National Bookstore, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, 2004)


  1. Rene Saguisag (April 4, 2012). "Rene Saguisag on Caloy Loyzaga: 'The Big Difference' simply the best ever". Interaksyon. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  2. Rhodeza Mae S. Junio. "Carlos Loyzaga: 'The Big Difference'". Smart Pinoys ATBP.
  3. Henry Liao (August 31, 2012). "Carlos Loyzaga: Greatest Filipino Cager Ever, Part III". Game Face.
  4. "Hall of Fame rites tonight". 27 July 2002. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  5. Henry Liao (September 2, 2012). "CARLOS LOYZAGA: *GREATEST FILIPINO CAGER EVER, PART IV". Game Face.
  6. Henry Liao (August 24, 2012). "CALOY LOYZAGA: *The Greatest Filipino Cager Ever, Part I". Game Face.
  7. Henry Liao (August 24, 2012). "CALOY LOYZAGA: *GREATEST FILIPINO CAGER EVER, PART II". Game Face.
  8. Dee, Ignacio (27 January 2016). "PH basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga dies". Rappler. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  9. Erwin Santiago (January 27, 2016). "Philippine basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga dies at 85". PEP.
  10. Cinco, Lito; Almendralejo, Albert; Loyzaga-Gibbs, Bing; Loyzaga, Chito (2013). The Big Difference. Philippines: San Beda College Alumni Association. pp. 115–128. ISBN 978-971-23-6444-0.
  11. Serato, Arniel C. "Teresa Loyzaga on possible showbiz comeback"," ", Manila, 4 September 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  12. Filipino hoops legend Caloy Loyzaga passes away Archived 2016-01-27 at the Wayback Machine,; 27 January 2016
  13. Philippine basketball legend Carlos 'Caloy' Loyzaga passes away,; accessed 27 January 2016.
  14. Terrado, Reuben (13 April 2013). "'Big Difference' Loyzaga back in country for good, shows support for Red Lions". Sports Interactive Network Philippines. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  15. "San Beda to retire #14 for basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga". ABS-CBN Sports. May 13, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  16. "WATCH: San Beda retires Caloy Loyzaga's jersey". ABS-CBN News. June 25, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  17. Henson, Quinito (February 17, 2016). "P.5M for Loyzaga family". The Philippine Star. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
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