The sports page of the November 5, 1954 issue of the Manila Bulletin

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment ever made in the history of Philippine basketball happened 66 years ago when the great Caloy Loyzaga led the Filipinos to a 66-60 win over France in the championship round of the FIBA World Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The win had an important significance as it put the Philippines closer to a third place finish in the tournament with one match remaining on its assignment in the eight-team championship round.

Loyzaga and company eventually reached the podium following Uruguay’s loss to Brazil the following day. The Philippines then beat Uruguay 67-63 with Loyzaga again leading the charge.

The Philippines would compete in five more editions of basketball governing body’s showpiece tournament, now known as the FIBA World Cup, but never made a serious threat in equaling the 1954 feat.

Below are two wire stories of the game from the Associated Press and United Press which the Bulletin published for its Nov. 5, 1954 issue.

Philippine Cagers Defeat French, 66-60

Filipinos Virtually Clinches Third-Place Honors; Chinese Quint Upsets Canada

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 4 (AP) — The Philippines virtually assured itself of third place honors in the second world basketball tournament here by defeating France, 66-60, in an up and down battle Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila).

The victory firmly entrenched the Philippines in third place behind the United States and Brazil — the teams favored to wind up as one-two finishers in the tournament.

And the Filipinos’ Asian brothers, the Nationalist Chinese, bolstered further the Philippines’ drive for third place by upsetting Canada, 74-61. The defeat dashed Canada’s hopes for placing third although it’s still to play France. Canada could now only hope for a tie for third if it defeats France and the Philippines loses to Uruguay in its remaining finals game on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

Uruguay, meanwhile, fought its way to a 74-69 victory over Israel after trailing Israel for most of the last half. Uruguay led at the half, 32-31.

Led by Carlos Loyzaga with 20 points, Mariano Tolentino with 13 and Barreto with 10, the Philippines was ahead 25-23 at half time.

During the second half they built up a nine-point lead but France roared back to tie the score at 50-50 on Robert Monclar’s free throw.

Tonight’s victory gave the Philippines a record of four wins, two defeats in the championship round play.

Throughout the game the Philippines gave the impression that they were playing just hard enough to win and appeared to be conserving their strength for the game with Uruguay.

Each time France came close the Philippines turned on the heat and zoomed ahead. In the closing minutes of the game they froze the ball in order to maintain their six point lead.

France, closest rivals of the Philippines, plays Canada Thursday. The French team now has won three and lost three.

The Philippines started the game with a man to man defense but switched to zone defense after France put in Mpnclar and Jean Beugnot, her two tallest men.

During the first half the game was interrupted ten minutes when Beugnot — tallest man in the tournament — got tangled in a basket and brought it crashing down. After repairs were made the game was resumed.

Loyzaga led the scoring with 20 points followed by teammate Tolentino with 13. The French honors were divided among Roger Haudengand, Henri Rey and Beugnot, each with 10 points.

In the China-Canada game, China took the early lead and after that could not be stopped. The victory was the first of the final round for the Chinese and the third defeat for Canada.

The score was tied 29-29 at halftime with the Canadians pulling ahead briefly, 37-36 in the final period. The Chinese, however, staged a fast finish to win. They played a quick, low passing game that had the Canadians in constant difficulty.

The leading scorers were Canada’s Carl Ridd with 23 points and China’s James Yat with 21.

MANILANS TOO FAST FOR FRENCH

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 4 (UP) — The Filipinos were too fast and too tricky for the French man-to-man defense, and their speed forced the French to foul them. The Philippines scored 22 points from the free throw lane compared to 18 by France.

French coach Robert Busnel said, “We played very badly. The result surprised the public but surprised me much more. The result was a logical consequence of the bad game we performed.”

The two teams were well-matched, but the Philippines showed more finesse and a better defense knit around its comparatively shorter guards.

France had gone into an early 5-4 lead in the first half, but the Philippines tied the score, 8-8, on two long shots.

Both teams were playing man-to-man in a very slow game when the French again took the lead, 11-10, on a foul shot.

Shifting to zone defense, the Filipinos again tied the score at 15-15.

Neither team had been able to successfully penetrate the defense of the other. The Philippines was more successful in outside shots.

At the end of the first half, no French player had more than four points while Carlos Loyzaga and Rafael Barreto had six each.

In the second half, Philippine coach Herminio Silva fielded Lauro Mumar, Loyzaga, Mariano Tolentino, Francisco Rabat and Antonio Genato.

The second half was much faster as both teams used man-to-man tactics and fast breaks when possible. But the Filipinos proved faster as they eluded their French guards, frequently getting free under the basket for a shot.

Two meter-seven centimeter Beugnot, France’s best bet, Buffiere and Zagury entered the game as the Philippines took a slim 57-52 lead. Beugnot scored two baskets and one foul shot but the Philippines still clung to the lead 58-57.

The Filipinos stretched this lead as France committed four fouls. It was 64-58 in favor of the Philippines as Buffiere fouled out.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/11/05/from-the-archives-relive-the-greatest-moment-in-philippine-basketball-history/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=from-the-archives-relive-the-greatest-moment-in-philippine-basketball-history)