THREE great personalities whose contributions to Philippine sports have been immense will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel on Saturday.
Legendary cager Carlos `Caloy’ Loyzaga, former International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative to the country Francisco `Frank’ Elizalde, and one-time Fiba-Asia secretary-general Mauricio `Moying’ Martelino are the recipients of the special award from the country’s oldest media organization when it holds its Annual Awards Night presented by MILO, with Air21 as major sponsor.
It will be the first time in three years the PSA is handing out the prominent award after honoring coaching genius Virgilio `Baby’ Dalupan and boxing referee Carlos Padilla with the same title in 2011.
To be conferred with the prestigious Athlete of the Year award during the formal rite being held in partnership with Smart Sports, Philippine Sports Commission, Senator Chiz Escudero, Accel at 3XVI, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Rain or Shine, Globalport, Philippine Basketball Association, ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour, SM Prime Holdings, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, is Gilas Pilipinas following its glowing silver medal finish in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila last year.
Before Gilas Pilipinas though, there was `The Big Difference.’
Now 83, Loyzaga is widely regarded as the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time.
A two-time Olympian and considered the top cager in the Philippines and among the best in the whole world in the 50s and 60s, Loyzaga anchored the Philippine team that won a bronze medal in the 1954 world championships - the highest finish ever by an Asian country in the quadrennial meet that remains unsurpassed until now.
Loyzaga was also a star player in the national team that won four Asian Games gold medals (1951, 1954, 1958, 1962) and two Fiba-Asia championships (1960, 1963).
The basketball Hall of Famer, who was named by the PSA as part of its Athletes of the Millennium in 2000, also had a successful career in coaching shortly after retiring from playing.
Elizalde retired from the IOC last year but not after serving as the Olympic body’s representative to the Philippines for more than two decades.
Apart from his previous work as basketball official not only in the country but also in Asia, Martelino is known for his big contributions in volleyball after spearheading the group that founded and organized the highly-successful Shakey’s V-League.