THE effects of a stroke could not stop Caloy Loyzaga from once again inspiring today's athletes.
The only Asian to win a major individual award in the world championships was feted with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) on Saturday night, and he took the opportunity to send a message home to the current generation of athletes.
Reading the speech for his father because a stroke left him unable to speak, 'King Caloy's' youngest daughter, actress Bing Loyzaga, said his dad has a very simple yet meaningful message not only for basketball players but to all athletes — play for the love of the game and nothing else.
“Play not for the fame and glory, not for money, but for the love of the game,” said a teary-eyed Loyzaga before athletes who stood out in the year past who were honored by the country's oldest media organization.
Loyzaga also called on Gilas, which earned a trip back to the basketball World Cup after finishing second in the last Fiba-Asia championships in Manila, as well as all national athletes to wear the tri-color proudly.
“And for those lucky enough to be honored as such in the national team, your love for country must surpass even your love of the sport,” said Loyzaga.
Showing he is still in a pink of health despite his inability to talk, Caloy Loyzaga arrived at the Manila Hotel clad in a barong and walking with the aid of a walker instead of the wheelchair he usually used in public.
The man they call ‘The Big Difference’ also stood on stage as he held the trophy, while his daughter read the acceptance speech as a teary-eyed Vicky Loyzaga, Caloy’s wife, posed for photographers.
“We hope his contributions in Philippine sports will influence and inspire young athletes in their respective fields of sports,” said Bing.
The sister of basketball playing brothers Chito and Joey Loyzaga also thanked the PSA for the distinct honor while showing how proud she and the family are with the award.
“On behalf of my father and our family, we would like to thank the Philippine Sportswriters Association for the honor in bestowing him this lifetime achievement award,” said Bing.
“Dad, I’m definitely proud of you,” said Bing.