by Ken Russell M. Peñaflor
There are only two Filipino basketball players who made it to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Hall of Fame: the legendary Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga (2023), and Dionisio Calvo (2007) who is an alumnus of the University of the Philippines.
FIBA is the world governing body for basketball founded in 1932. The federation awards the Hall of Fame to great individuals who played key roles in shaping the history of this well-known sport. To belong to this distinguished list is an honor that Dionisio Calvo, a graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (BS Agriculture 1926), has conferred upon the country and his alma mater.
Calvo, or “Chito” to his acquaintances, was enshrined as a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in the Contributor category on March 1, 2007, and he belonged to the pioneering batch that received this prestigious award.
A man of various contributions to the basketball community, Chito proved that he is worthy of such a great title.
He was part of the University of the Philippines basketball team that won the championship title in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) back in 1926.
Coach Chito was praised by the players he mentored. He was described as a very skilled tactician and a firm yet soft-spoken coach. He is considered one of the greatest, if not the best, pre-war basketball coaches, having commanded many teams.
He coached the Philippine Basketball National Team in two Olympic games; one in Berlin in 1936, where they ranked 5th, and in London in 1948. Coach Chito also led the Philippine team that clinched the championship at the 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi.
Chito ignited the love of basketball for a wider audience when he co-founded the Asian Basketball Confederation, which is currently known as FIBA Asia, giving more opportunities to players to be part of the international basketball community.
Chitos’s passion, determination, and perseverance in helping the Philippine team and improving basketball earned him a place as a record holder in FIBA. His legacy will never be forgotten and will serve as an inspiration to the current brood of basketball players such as his former team, the UP Fighting Maroons, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 that kicked off on September 30, 2023 (Saturday).
Dionisio “Chito” Calvo is indeed a distinguished alumnus and Atleta ng Bayan.
Sources: https://www.fiba.basketball/ and PH Sports Bureau Facebook