Carlos Loyzaga

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Carlos Loyzaga
No. 41 – Retired
Position Center
Personal information
Born (1930-08-29) 29 August 1930 (age 84)
Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Career information
College San Beda College
Career history
1954–1964 YCO Painters (MICAA)
Career highlights and awards

As player:
Mythical Five (2):

As coach:
Championship (1):

Carlos Loyzaga
Medal record
Men’s Basketball
Competitor for  Philippines
FIBA World Championship
Bronze 1954 Rio de Janeiro Team competition
FIBA Asia Championship
Gold 1960 Manila Team competition
Gold 1963 Taipei Team competition
Asian Games
Gold 1951 New Delhi Team competition
Gold 1954 Manila Team competition
Gold 1958 Tokyo Team competition
Gold 1962 Jakarta Team competition

Carlos M. Loyzaga (born 29 August 1930) is a Filipino former basketball player and coach.

Nicknamed "The Big Difference", he is widely regarded as the greatest Filipino basketball player of his era, being the most dominant player in Philippine basketball from the 1950s to the early 1960s. Loyzaga was a two-time Olympian (1952, 1956), as a member of the Philippines men's national basketball team.

Basketball career[edit]

Loyzaga learned to play basketball in the neighborhood Tervalac basketball courts in Teresa, Sampaloc, 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 such promise in the young Loyzaga's height and ability that without thinking twice, he offered to train Loyzaga for his junior PRATRA team. In 1949, Loyzaga quit high school to play for PRATRA, winning the MICAA junior crown that year.

San Beda Red Lions[edit]

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. Standing at 191 cm (6 ft 3 in), he towered over most other players in the league and came to be a dominating player. Loyzaga was a rarity in that he could play all three positions – center, forward and guard – with equal efficiency. But it was at center that Loyzaga was most recognized – a tough, deadly and graceful slotman who sowed terror in the heart of his adversaries. Loyzaga was called "The Big Difference” because his absence could mean defeat and he could turn defeat into victory with his presence. 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. But when Loyzaga returned to play, San Beda retired the Zamora Trophy by winning the championships three times in 1951, 1952 and 1955.

YCO Painters[edit]

Loyzaga joined the fabled YCO Painters in 1954 after powering PRATRA and PRISCO 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.

Philippine Men's Basketball Team[edit]

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. Loyzaga himself 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.

Coaching career[edit]

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 UST men's basketball team in the UAAP. He also 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).

Personal life[edit]

Loyzaga was born in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to a Basque family and the son of former Philippine national football team player Joaquin Loyzaga. 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.

Loyzaga is married to Vicky Cuerva. He is the father of former basketball players Chito Loyzaga and Joey Loyzaga and TV/movie actresses Bing Loyzaga and Teressa Loyzaga. He is also the grandfather of actor Carlos Diego Loyzaga.



  • Philippine National Basketball Hall of Fame (1999)[1]
  • Philippine Sportswriter Association Athletes of the 20th Century award (2000)


  • 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)


External links[edit]