BETTER late than never.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Friday handed over a check worth P1 million representing the unpaid pension due to basketball great Caloy Loyzaga.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia personally handed the financial incentive to the 84-year-old Loyzaga, who arrived at the 4th floor of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in his wheel chair and accompanied by wife Victoria and daughter, actress Bing Loyzaga.
The money represented the backlog of Loyzaga’s pension as the best basketball player the country ever produced under the Government Monthly Incentives and Pension Act that was enacted during the time of President Ramos in 1997.
Garcia said Loyzaga has been receiving a monthly pension from the PSC the past two years worth P3,500, but the sports agency has been remiss on its duties from 2012 backwards.
“Through the years di niya natatanggap `yung pension niya. So we computed how much and found out he has not received more than P600,000 of his pension,” said Garcia. “So we want to rectify the mistakes. Actually, I don’t know if you can call it a mistake, an oversight perhaps.
“So we immediately readied a plaque for him and rounded off the amount to P1 million. It’s an appreciation and recognition for his contributions to the sport of basketball.”
A two-time Olympian and twice Mythical Team member of the World Basketball Championship (FIBA-World), Loyzaga, whose speech had been impaired after suffering a massive stroke three years ago, was obviously elated with the financial incentive given him.
“He’s really very happy with this,” said Caloy’s 75-year-old wife, who bared ‘The Big Difference’ continues to watch basketball games of any kind on television to this day.
Loyzaga played in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics, was part of the national team that won four gold medals in the Asian Games, and two FIBA-Asia Philippine team that also bagged the gold medal.
But the highlight of his colorful career was in the 1954 Rio de Jainero world championship when the Philippines bagged the bronze medal, the highest finish ever by the Philippines – and any Asian countries for that matter – in the quadrennial meet.