Philippines, 29 May 2024
  Home >> News











OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: PH in 1954 World Men's Basketball Championship

This is the continuation of an article that appeared in last Saturday?s issue about year 1954 as the most memorable moment in the history of Philippine basketball. That first story dealt on the highlights of how our dribblers won, for the second straight time, the Asian Games cage championship that day being the opening of the 18th edition of the quadrennial competition among the region?s best and brightest athletes in two separate cities of Indonesia ? Jakarta and Palembang.

Discussion of that historic and glorious moment won?t be complete without the equally memorable feat of the Filipinos in the Men?s World Basketball championship held six months later in Brazil?s premier city of Rio de Janeiro where they ended up third and went home with the bronze medal and Carlos ?The Great Difference? Loyzaga being named member of the world?s mythical team.

That third place finish is, up to this day, the best by any nation in Asia and outside of the United States and Europe. Loyzaga?s accomplishment was the first for any Asian coming more than six decades before Chinese great Yao Ming duplicated the feat.

The irony of it all is, while Yao has just been recently elevated to the Internastional Basketball Federation Hall of Fame, our own Caloy has yet to be accorded the distinction. But that?s for the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the country?s ruling body in the sport, to address.

The 1954 Philippine team to that year?s WC, was practically the same that won that year?s Asiad and is considered, up to this present time, the finest the country has formed for any international competition. Six Olympians -- Loyzaga, Florentino Bautista, Mariano Tolentino, Antonio Genato, and Pon Saldana, all of the 1952 Helsinki Games, and team captain Lauro ?The Fox? Mumar, 1948, London ? and six standouts from the commercial,(MICAA) and schools (NCAA and UAAP) leagues in Francisco Rabat (Ateneo), Rafael Barredo (San Miguel-San Beda), Bayanin Amador (FEU), Ramon Manulat, Nap Flores (UST), Ben Francisco (PAL), formed the formidable lineup.

The coach was Herminio ?Herr? Silva, who also mentored the Philippine Asiad gold medallist side. The team?s average age was 23, with Mumar, the oldest at 29, and Rabat, the youngest at 18. Its overall physical attribute was above average, although the team was also rich in experience and ?abilidad? a trait Silva? boys showed in the tournament, particularly the wily Mumar.

Asiad team captain Rafael Hechanova begged off of the team after marriage and so did Jose Ma. Cacho, Eddie Lim and Ignacio Ramos. Mumar was named skipper and Barredo and Francico took the other vacant slots. Francis Wilson and Alfredo Sagarbarria were named alternates.

The Philippines was bracketed in Group A with host Brazil and Paraguay in the elimination round. The Filipinos debuted with an impressive 65-52 shellacking of Paraguay but lost to their hosts, 99-63. They, nonetheless made the final round when the Brazilians showed the exit door to Paraguay, 61-52.

Also advancing were the U.S. and Canada in Group B, Uruguay and France in Group C and Republic of China (now Chinese Taipei) and Israel in Group D.

Caloy was simply overpowering in his performance and along with Saldana, Flores and Bautista, took care of point-making. Mumar provided the leadership, while directing the tempo of the games. Spitfire Genato wowed both the opposition and the crowd with his speed and ball-handling while Manulat and Amador played cool and calculating.

The Filipinos drew the Americans in their opening game of the eight-team, one round finals and lost as expected, 56-45. In a replay of their Asian Game, finals, they bounced back into contention with a 48-38 repeat over ROC.

Another victory over Israel, 90-55, sent Silva and his boys to a return match against Brazil and, again, bowed, 57-41. A string of three successive wins followed in game 5, 6 and 7 virtually sealed the bronze medal although the Filipinos needed to beat Uruguay in their final assignment to officially claim the software.

While coach Silva earned the attention of the basketball world in his now famous ?longest freeze? employed against the Taiwanese in their Asiad gold medal triumph May that year in Manila, it was Mumar?s moment to shine in Brazil where he showed how cunny and wily the Filipino players are.

In their penultimate appearance against France, Mumar made himself fondly remembered by basketball aficionados.

Already the crowd favorites following their 83-76 downing of Canada where they captured the fans? fancy with an all-around proficiency and brilliance, Mumar, the captain, showed more of that in their 66-60 mangling of the Frenchmen.

During a story-telling session with reporters a few days after their arrival at the Memorial Caf?, the sports people favorite watering hole fronting the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the ?Fox? narrated his crucial encounter with French 6-foot-9 giant pivotman Beugnot in the closing minutes of the tight contest and the enemy leading.

This big man of the French team had been intimidating him throughout their encounter, he attested with a wide grin as his audience listened intently. ?During a timeout, I asked to be excused in the huddle to drink water.?

?When I came back to our bench, hindi ko nilulon lahat tubig sa bibig ko, ?he said in mixed English and Tagalog with his usual Boholano accent. ?Pag-resume ng play, tao ko pa rin siya, binuga ko lahat tubig sa bibig ko.?

?Sus, kagulo,? Mumar exclaimed. ?He chased me all over the court to get even, but I expected it. The referees saw what happened and threw him out of the game. I made the technical free throws and we won.?

Beugnot was later named the tournament?s Most Valuable Player.

Photo: The 1954 Philippine basketball team in the Rio, Brazil world men's basketball championship.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

Recent In-House articles:

  • Batters Up: Super Middleweight Sluggers Christian Mbilli & Sergiy Derevyanchenko Clash August 17 at Videotron Centre in Quebec City LIVE on ESPN
    , Wed, 29 May 2024
  • Aguilar-Agaha duo wins Sarbay Pickleball
    By Lito delos Reyes, , Wed, 29 May 2024
    , Wed, 29 May 2024
  • Providence police officer Kyana Williams Captured a bronze medal at prestigious National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions
    , Wed, 29 May 2024
  • The Past Week in Action 27 May 2024: Okolie Destroys Rozanski in 1; Catterall Gains Revenge Against Taylor; Mbilli KOs Heffron in 1
    By Eric Armit, , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • Boston Sweeps Indiana, Gains NBA Finals; Jaylen Brown Tows Celtics to Victory, 105-102
    By Teodoro Medina Reynoso, , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • Paalam seeks revenge on foe
    By Joaquin Henson, , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • RDR Promotions Back With Explosive Card This Saturday Night at Harrahs Philadelphia in Chester, PA
    , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • Eros Correa Signs Network Agreement with ProBox TV Set to Face Walter Santibanes June 5 in Plant City
    , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • Jamar Talley shines bright and makes a strong statement in his Olympic Qualifier debut in Thailand
    , Tue, 28 May 2024
  • Bring Out the Brooms: Mavs One Win Away from Sweep
    By Teodoro Medina Reynoso, , Mon, 27 May 2024
  • Abando, Calubo are Sarbay Strongman 2024
    By Lito delos Reyes, , Mon, 27 May 2024
  • Usyk Surges on Top of P4P List
    By Teodoro Medina Reynoso, , Mon, 27 May 2024
  • Lightweight Bader Al-Dherat edges Orlando Mosquera to improve to 11-0 Moussa Gholam, Faizan Anwar & Al Nuami all winners by decision
    , Mon, 27 May 2024
  • PH wunderkind Ivan Travis Cu settles for 2nd overall in Vietnam Chess, country's newest FIDE Master
    By Marlon Bernardino, , Mon, 27 May 2024
    , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Boston Shows Heart of Champions; Rallies to Beat Indiana, 114-111
    By Teodoro Medina Reynoso, , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Panabo Knights Chess Club Leads ACAPI Winners in Tuesday's Awarding Ceremony
    By Marlon Bernardino, , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Terrence Crawford: P4P #1 and Good Businessman
    By Ralph Rimpell, , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Xander Zayas Hosts Open Workout at 152nd Street Cultural Festival in The Bronx
    , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Robby Gonzales secured Team USA’s second win in Thailand
    , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • JACKED UP! Jack Catterall Defeats Josh Taylor in Leeds Classic
    , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Manila Indios Bravos-Manila Load Manna Knights edge Toledo-Xignex Trojans to claim first PCAP crown
    By Marlon Bernardino, , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • Alyssa Mendoza gets Team USA’s first win In Bangkok at final Olympic Boxing Qualifier
    , Sun, 26 May 2024
  • June 21: Emiliano Fernando Vargas Returns Against Jose Zaragoza on Rafael Espinoza-Sergio Chirino Undercard at BleauLive Theater at Fontainebleau Las Vegas on ESPN+
    , Sat, 25 May 2024


 has been created to support every aspiring
    Filipino boxer and the Philippine boxing scene in general.
    Please send comments to

    developed and maintained by dong secuya
    © 2024