Loyzaga vs Caidic sa ‘Return of the Rivals’

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PALITAN ng three-pointer saan man sulok ng hardcourt, muli masasaksihan ng basketball fans ang husay at galing sa long distance shootout nina Joey Loyzaga at Allan Caidic – dalawa sa pinakamalupit na shooters sa local pro league.

LOYZAGA: The Baby Dynamite

LOYZAGA: The Baby Dynamite

Tinaguriang ‘Baby Dynamite’, balik bansa ang Australian-based at orihinal namiyembro ng ‘Never-Say-Die’ Ginebra (Anejo), upang makiisa sa ilalargang PBA: Return of the Rivals sa Pebrero 17 sa Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Isa sa dalawang anak (Chito Loyzaga) ng Olympian at basketball great na si Caloy “The Big Difference” Loyzaga, makikibahagi si Joey sa exhibition game na inorganisa ng Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas.

“What happened is, I was not able to make it the first time. I think it was October when they had plans of holding this game. And then they moved it again. This time, I was really coming to Manila because my Bedan mates (San Beda) will be celebrating out 40th year in high school,” pahayag ni Loyzaga.

“So they fixed me up and I decided to come over and tamang-tama naman para dito. So may reunion sa school and may reunion din dito, Fantastic!” aniya.

Tunay na muling mabubuhay ang karibalan nina Loyzaga at Caidic na kapwa minahal at hinangaan hindi lamang sa bansa kundi sa international area dahil sa kanilang husay sa outside game – na malayong-malayo sa talento ng mga kasalukuyang henerasyon ng mga players.

“Na-conceptualize naman ito because of the old Crispa-Toyota rivarly. Kaya lang since most of them are not playing anymore, we considered the second generation rivalries which is the 90s SMB and Alaska grand slam teams and Ginebra-Purefoods Manila Classico,” pahayag ni Caidic sa panayam ng Manila Bulletin Sports.

Ayon kay Caidic, bunsod nang kakulangan ng mga aktibong player na kapanbayan nila, isinama niya ang mga players na naglaro sa dekada 90 at 2000 para mabalanse ang mga koponan.

“It’s going to be a fun game. Syempre andyan pa din yung pride. We plan to practice per team by next week,” ayon sa tinaguriang ‘Triggerman’ at may hawak ng marka sa pinakamaraming three-point na nagawa sa isang laro (17) noong 1989 at nataon laban sa Ginebra na koponan noon ni Loyzaga .

Sa edad na 57, ikinalugod ni Loyzaga ang muling makasama ang mga dating kalaro at mga tagahanga.

“I wish I can hug them, all at the same time. There is no more ‘galit’, competition or what. As I’ve said, I just want to be with them. Have a good reunion. Good times, good laughs. For sure we all have maintenances to drink, and maybe a little bit of tummies, balding, white hair. That’s the thing we have to talk about,” ayon kay Loyzaga.

Ngunit, may paumanhin si Loyzaga sakaling hindi niya mapausok ang rim.

“This is the first time I’ve touched the basketball again. I think the gods of the San Juan Coliseum are helping me put in my shots haha. Everything is good!” pahayag ni Loyzaga, patungkol sa maayos na shooting sa ensayo ng koponan kamakailan sa San Juan Arena.

-BRIAN YALUNG