|Antonio "Tony" Genato's jersey was retired in Valenzuela.|
MANILA—The name Antonio Genato may not ring a bell to many Filipino basketball fans today, but to those who followed his career even if only in historical accounts, he is a legend.
Genato was a member of the Philippine team that won a bronze medal in the 1954 FIBA World Cup, the best finish by an Asian team ever in the said tournament.
In fact, the 91-year-old former San Beda star is one of only two remaining players alive from that fabled squad which became a barometer of success among the national teams, the other being Ramon Manulat.
"Every team was afraid of the Philippine team. They knew that we know what basketball was all about," Genato, who played club basketball for the fabled Yco squad in the defunct MICAA and eventually became coach for Great Taste in the PBA, remembered that Philippine team on Sunday night.
That is why Congressman Eric Martinez honored Genato, known to friends as simply Tony, with a jersey retirement.
The representative from Valenzuela's second district had Genato's number 13 jersey raised to the rafters of the Bahay Alamat court in the said city.
"It's an honor for the people of Valenzuela and the entire country that we still have you here, one of the all-time greats of 'Team '54', and it's a great honor for our city—sa aming Bahay Alamat—that you're the first athlete to be inducted in the 'house of legends'," Martinez said to Genato.
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